Foundation continues historic preservation efforts, presents plaque to Browder Building owner

The Historic Boulder City Foundation’s roots in the past continue to dig deeper as members fortify their efforts to ensure that the city’s historic treasures remain in place for future generations.

Saturday morning, they took their first step by presenting Charles Lawson, who recently purchased the Browder Building and is in the middle of transforming it into an eatery and art gallery, with a plaque from the National Register of Historic Places.

“I believe others will follow with historic preservation,” Lawson said.

Although his original intention was to demolish the building and construct something new on the site, Lawson said the group’s efforts to try to preserve the old Six Cos. Hospital convinced him preservation and renovation was the way to go.

“All of this passion for preserving the hospital helped me understand how much people care about the history here, that it really matters to them,” he said in September when he decided to change his plans for the site.

The plaque will be installed on the building as soon as construction is complete, he said.

This will be the first plaque from the national register on a commercial building in town, said Chris Frausto, one of the foundation’s co-directors.

She said the group’s goal is to have plaques on every building in the historic district, including homes. Each bronze plaque costs $200.

Right now, the only way to know that a home of building is part of the historic district a small designation on the street sign, she said.

Not only will the plaques help showcase which structures are included on the register, they will help raise home and property values, Frausto said.

She said the group, which is comprised of people of all ages and from all walks of life, also has plans to work with homeowners on preservation issues, and hopes to expand the city’s historic district.

Keegan Strouse, one of the foundation’s co-founders and key core members, said they will have interns from UNLV’s history department help conduct surveys to determine which homes have historic merit.

“We have to work on fundraising and to get grants (to further our efforts),” Frausto said. “We want to pick up where the city leaves off.”

Their plans also include creating brochures about the historic district and preservation, and getting them into the hands of local real estate agents to pass on to potential buyers, as well as establishing a repository for architectural features that can repurposed.

“We want to have the resources if you need pieces,” Frausto said.

Additionally, the foundation recently merged with the Boulder City Friends of the Arts and will now be known as the Boulder City History and Arts Foundation. The idea behind the merger is to promote preservation as well as culture, Frausto and Strouse said.

Strouse said their new logo, which incorporates the arches of the Boulder Theatre, is expected to be unveiled soon.

Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.