Greening History in Boulder, Colorado
Q: What’s better than staying in a picturesque, historic cottage at the foot of the Rockies’ Front Range, only a stone’s throw from downtown Boulder, Colorado?
A: Staying in an environmentally friendly, picturesque, historic cottage at the foot of the Rockies’ Front Range and only a stone’s thrown from downtown Boulder, Colorado, of course! Oh, and you might as well add some on-site concerts and lectures while you’re at it.
IT editor Janelle Nanos ventured to Boulder recently, and when she paid a visit to Colorado’s Chautauqua, this is exactly what she found. Not only does Colorado’s Chautauqua boast amazing scenery, plenty of quaint cabins for long-term and daily rentals, and a calendar packed with lectures and concerts, it is also working to become the most environmentally sustainable National Historic Landmark in the U.S.
The Chautauqua Movement, which got its start in the late 1800s, aspired to bring communities together through educational, cultural, and social activities.
Colorado’s Chatauqua, one of the best in the nation, is the only active Chautauqua chapter west of the Mississippi with its original structures still intact.
So how do you become the most environmentally sustainable National Historic Landmark in the U.S.
while maintaining the historic nature of the buildings, many of which are over a century old? Well, first you hire an expert (enter LEED certified professional, Jeff Medanich). Then, you tackle one building at a time, from the inside out.
Two of Chautauqua’s 99 cottages have already been renovated and are now Energy Star
rated. The exterior of the cabins were not changed, but inside, the cabins were retrofitted with state-of-the-art insulation, water-conserving plumbing, and energy-efficient lighting. The changes have reduced the cabins’ operating expenses and natural gas and electricity consumption by two-thirds.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
The process is a gradual one, but well worth it. Hopefully more National Historic Landmarks across the country will follow suit, employing new, sustainable technologies while preserving the historic nature of the site.
Read more about the Colorado Chautauqua and Boulder, Colorado’s other delights in the July/August issue of National Geographic Traveler Magazine, and check out our Boulder Photo Gallery and Destination Guide.
Photo: Chautauqua Ranger Cottage, by Rachael Dunlap