The historic Tabor Opera House in Leadville is the only site in Colorado, and one of only 20 nationwide, selected for the 2018 Partners in Preservation: Main Streets national historic preservation awareness campaign and the chance to win $150,000 toward rehabilitating a national icon.
American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) created the campaign to increase the public’s awareness of the importance of historic preservation in the U.S. Winners will be determined by popular vote from Sept. 24 to Oct. 26, 2018. Members of the public, regardless of where they live, can vote online each day.
Leadville Literary League founder and author Laurel McHargue is one of many ambassadors for the month-long voting campaign. “The support this campaign has mustered in our community is phenomenal, and we’re hoping to encourage history lovers from around the world to join us in voting to fund the ongoing preservation efforts of this beautiful opera house,” says McHargue.
The Leadville Main Street Program, the City of Leadville and the Tabor Opera House Preservation Foundation (TOHPF) are partnering to participate in the campaign. TOHPF Board President Stephanie Spong states, “We are thrilled that this preservation competition will bring awareness to Leadville’s historic district and, if we win, the funds earned will help us preserve the facade of the Tabor Opera House for generations to come.”
A part of Leadville’s National Historic Landmark District, the Tabor Opera House is on the Colorado Preservation Inc’s Most Endangered Places list and the NTHP’s National Treasures list. Beloved locally, the opera house has been in use as a community events center since it was built in 1879. Under imminent threat of demolition through neglect, the opera house is in a race against time and entropy as deferred maintenance, weather, crumbling bricks, water, and fire risk threaten this long-neglected historic treasure.
The Partners in Preservation grant, if awarded, will go toward the first construction phase of the Tabor Opera House’s $8 to $10 million rehabilitation project. This $1.5 million Phase 1 addresses the west and south facades to secure the exterior of the building.
The City and the Foundation have also announced a $500,000 award from the National Park Services’ Save America’s Treasures Historic Preservation Fund competitive grant program. This award likewise will go toward the $1.5 million Phase 1 project.