introducing one of our 2022 Awardees!
Renovation of the1914 Palmer LakeTown Hall
The Project's Historic context
The Town Hall was selected for the Colorado Register of Historic Properties on September 20, 2019. It was built in 1914 for about $1200. Soon thereafter anacetylene gas lighting system was installed. In 1916 a playground was added.
Since 1914, the Town Hall has served as the symbol and meeting place of the Palmer Lake community where townsfolk gather for all manner of government,
Social, and recreational activities. It is also an early example of the Craftsmanstyle architecture. Since 1935, the Town Hall has been the home of the annual
Yule Log hunt and celebration. In 1937, the Palmer Lake Fire Department built the fireplace and chimney reusing granite rocks from the Rockland Hotel, which was destroyed by fire in 1921. The Palmer Lake Home Demonstration Club built and furnished the kitchen addition in 1948. The Village Green to the east became the Town Hall’s front lawn in 1982. The Town Hall roof structure was replaced in 2022 and the Town of Palmer Lake funded additional improvements that included an ADA-compliant rest room and upgraded electrical, lighting, and sound systems.
The State Register Board Chairperson summarized the Town Hall nomination as a “a charming story and symbol of Palmer Lake.” It truly isl
Broader Lessons to be Drawn from the Project
The most important lesson is an old one: Community Matters, and a historic building provides a gathering space for the community to come together to share events and celebrations, to visit neighbors and get to know visitors.
History Matters, and the Palmer Lake Town Hall demonstrates that precept by its very existence. Visitors who come upon the building or residents who pass daily note the interesting structure and wantto know, “What happened here?” “How old is the building?”Those questions lead to other, broader questions of traditions, time and people of the past.
Civic Pride Matters. Without the full cooperation of town officials, staff, local agencies and the support of the Palmer Lake Board of Trustees, these necessary renovations would still be lacking.
This historic structure is the heart of that spirit, embracing the people who make up the community of Palmer Lake.
Specific Goals of the project
Originally, the restoration focused on roof replacement including trusses. Planners also had a goal to upgrade the existing south restroom making it ADA-compliant. Renovation did not stop with these two projects.
As with any 100+ year-old building renovation, there were additional needs to be addressed including upgrading light fixtures, exhaust fan replacement, new ceiling fans, and completed finishing work. TN Parker conducted excellent work replacing existing electrical system including new interior wiring, new exterior service and removed a hazard that existed related to the electrical service to the Fire Station. Additional work included replacing the wrap around porch framing, insulating the exterior walls and new roof system (previously none making good energy improvement), repairs to the exterior siding encapsulation & abatement of lead-based paint, asbestos abatement, new interior wall finishes, new bead board interior ceiling with a concealed layer of fire rated drywall although not required by code – improving the safety in terms of fire separations within the interior space – new gutters and downspouts directing water away from the foundation. New 220-volt circuit to kitchen range was partially installed – from lighting panel and terminating within metal junction box located in ceiling above kitchen. Existing interior and exterior walls were initially tilting, and walls were modified to be truly vertical (plumb) prior to installation of the new roof trusses.
The project's benefits to the community
The Palmer Lake Town Hall is the epicenter of Palmer Lake for both public and private events. It serves as not only a social gathering location, but as the primary meeting place for the Town of Palmer Lake town departments including Police, Fire, Public Works, Administration, as we11 as the governing bodies of the Town, including Board of Trustees, Planning Commission, Parks Commission, and other advisory committees. Everyone, from citizens of Palmer Lake to visitors will benefit from a functional, safe, and accessible Town Hall. The annual Yule Log celebration (since 1935) and the Chili Supper for the Palmer Lake Star (State Register SEP-7092) (since 1937) symbolize the historic sense of Palmer Lake and enables everyone to come be a part of these traditions regardless of their race, creed, or color. Private uses of Town Hall are many; they include weddings, memorials, meetings, classes, potlucks, presentations, and many other public and private events. In this history conscious community, the Palmer Lake Historical Society plays a significant role beyond maintaining the only historical museum in northern El Paso County. The well-attended PLHS monthly programs on local and state history have been held in the Town Hall for decades. In addition to education programming, the Society brings the town together for social events such as the Annual Father’s Day Ice Cream Social.
Specific challenges the project team overcame
Weather extremes at 7300-feet elevation. Supply chain delays resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Roof removal during the winter was the biggest concern as well as not destroying the existing interior during the process. Roof sections were prefabricated in 10-ft sections on the ground adjacent to the park and craning them into place; then completing the removal of the existing roof sections in a similar manner. I believe we overcame this challenge and minimized the interior disturbance. Other challenges included limited staging and storage areas, design coordination between Town agencies, availability of proper material to match the 100+ year old construction. Craftsmen resulted to manufacturing or custom fabricating materials because they just weren’t available for purchase, including exterior shingle siding pieces, interior and exterior trim, and corbels, as well as concealing new electrical in the walls to preserve the existing finishes.