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Register of historic places preserves Cedaredge heritage

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Photo by Emy Lynn Roque Cisneros Part of the application process to register a home on the list of historic places is research. Current homeowner Schum was delighted to discover her home, 540 W. Main Street, is one of the originals built in Cedaredge. Onc

Cedaredge's Historic Preservation Board (HPB) is considering adding another residential property to the local register of historic places. The home -- 540 W. Main Street -- was built in 1908 by a local builder at the time, Robert "Bob" James.

One of the HPB board members and grandchild of James, Mike Mills, lived in that home as a child. Registering 540 W. Main acts to help preserve a part of Cedaredge's humble beginnings and James' hard work.

"It's different now," said Mills. "During that time lilacs were everywhere in town and when they went into bloom, all of Cedaredge smelled like lilac." Remembering the home itself he recalled the trees and bushes surrounding the property.

"There used to be an apple tree to the west of the home and I remember building a treehouse and eating lots of apples there," he said fondly.

Mills joined the HPB largely because of his grandfather, who first came to Cedaredge in 1901.

Having just recently become master carpenter, he was in high demand for building for over 30 years. He built the first bridge across Surface Creek, the silos at Pioneer Town, and several of the first churches, businesses and homes.

"Because of my grandfather's influence in Cedaredge I've always been interested in the towns heritage," said Mills. "He was very active in the community, on one of the early town councils and president of the Cedaredge lumber yard for a time."

Currently 26 properties are listed on the register. Containing buildings of historical interest, the hope is to "preserve the history and character," according Mills.

"We hope people will keep homes in a historic state but we don't limit or confine what people do," said Mills.

To qualify a building must be at least 50 years old. In this case, Shirley Schum approached the HPB booth at Applefest to see if anyone knew any history on her home. Over the years it's passed through several owners.

After speaking with Mills and discovering his grandfather built it she was happy the board wanted to add her home to the register. When giving a tour to Mills, he recognized a drawing in the closet indicating its measurements; James often did this in homes he built.

"I started out just wanting to learn more about the home and now I see the register as a way to honor the history and people who started Cedaredge," said Schum. "James built so much in town and I want to do my best to preserve this house."

Mills helped Schum with the application process, which includes research and paperwork. Next the town will approve the application and the Cedaredge Board of Trustees vote to add it to the register. It will likely be approved in the next month or two.

"A lot of history will be gone if we don't do something now to write it down," said Mills, referring to the importance of the board and register.

Photo by Emy Lynn Roque Cisneros This home at 540 W. Main Street was built in 1908 by a local, Robert “Bob” James.
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Surface Creek
Cedaredge, historical preservation board
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