Everything You Need to Know About Historic Downtown Boulder

  • Patrick Westfall
  • 09/11/22

Downtown Boulder is a booming commercial and residential area in the center of a large, diverse city. The district has a rich history going back to the mid-1800s and continues to grow to this day. It is a popular spot for families and young professionals. Downtown Boulder features one of the most popular pedestrian malls in the country and many historic properties dating back to the late 1800s and early 1900s. It is a vibrant community with something for everyone. Continue reading to learn about Downtown Boulder’s history, current features, and what it means to own old property in the area.

History of Downtown Boulder

Downtown Boulder was designated a local historic district in 1999 after gaining limited protection from a 1980s designation on the National Register of Historic Places. This district is located in the Boulder Original Townsite. Originally established in 1859, prospectors heading west looking for gold discovered silver in the area in 1869 and gold in 1872. Pearl Street ran through the center of the city and was considered the commercial center and main thoroughfare of the city, leading to steady growth and development over time.

Because of the protection that came with local historic district designation in 1999, the district is considered architecturally significant, featuring architectural styles from the 1870s to the early 1900s. The Boulder County Courthouse was built during the Great Depression after the original courthouse burnt down in the 1930s. Built in 1935, The Boulder Theater’s architecture was influenced by the new Courthouse. A third significant piece of architecture within the Downtown Boulder district is the Hotel Boulderado, built in 1907 to increase the ability to adequately house visitors to the area.

Pearl Street

Photo courtesy of Pearl Street Mall

One of the most popular pedestrian malls in the United States is also prominently featured in Downtown Boulder – Pearl Street Mall. Filled with Downtown Boulder real estate serving as restaurants and shops, Pearl Street Mall is considered one of the main attractions of Boulder. There are a seemingly endless array of shops on Pearl Street Mall where you can find something you will enjoy no matter your interests. From bookstores and vintage shops to boutiques and outdoor gear shops, there really is something for everyone.

When you’ve had your fill of shopping and need to stop to find something delicious to eat, you won’t be short on food options either. Whether you are craving pizza, ice cream, sushi, or falafel, among a variety of unique cuisine options, you will find a restaurant to satisfy. If you want to pick up something to take home, you can stop in the farmer’s market during the spring, summer, and fall.

If you want to experience Downtown Boulder’s entertainment, you won’t have to look far while enjoying Pearl Street. Pearl Street is known for its unique street performers, including high school violinists and jugglers. Throughout the summer, Pearl Street Mall features live music performances, and just up the road is the Boulder Theater, the historic piece of Downtown real estate where you can still enjoy movies, music, and comedy.

Pine Street

Photo courtesy of Carnegie Library

If you are looking to own your own piece of Downtown Boulder real estate so that you don’t miss out on the action, you will want to consider buying a home on Pine Street. Pine Street is one block north of Spruce Street, often considered the boundary for the downtown district. Buying a house on Pine Street, you will be within walking distance of all of the fun and excitement that Downtown Boulder has to offer.

Also located on Pine Street is the Carnegie Library for Local History. Built in 1906, the Carnegie Library was designed after a small Greek temple near Athens. The Carnegie Library is home to a large collection of local history materials, substantially more than other libraries around the nation. It houses 750,000 items related to Boulder City and County, of which many date back to before the state was named Colorado. If you would like to get a look at what daily life was like in Boulder years ago, you can browse the Carnegie Library’s newspaper collection, which dates back to 1869. This is just a small portion of the historical documents housed within the library.

What to know when buying an older property

If you are considering buying your own real estate in Downtown Boulder, there are several details you will want to consider. First, when looking to buy an old piece of Downtown Boulder real estate, you will need to know that not all old properties in the area are considered historic properties. You can look at a map and list of historic properties to see if yours is on the list. If your old property is not designated as a historic landmark, you can fill out an application to nominate your property for landmark status.

If it turns out that you do have a historic property, there are several benefits to owning the property. You may be eligible for tax breaks and grants, a bronze plaque of recognition, or zoning exemptions. As the owner of a historic property, you also have certain responsibilities. If you want to make any changes to the exterior of your home, you will need to apply for a special certificate. You are also responsible for any maintenance to the property that will keep it well maintained and preserved.

When you are ready to look into owning your own home in Downtown Boulder, you will want to work with a professional real estate agent. You will want to choose an agent that specializes in Boulder real estate and has extensive knowledge of the area. Patrick Westfall has been a Boulder resident for 24 years and has a vast amount of knowledge surrounding the neighborhoods and real estate markets in Boulder. He works to ensure that you are provided with a full-service experience to meet your needs throughout your home buying process. Reach out to Patrick Westfall directly when you are ready to find your dream home in the Downtown Boulder area.

*Header photo courtesy of Visit Boulder Colorado