For more than a century Boulder’s Civic Area has been a gathering place for everyone—right in the heart of Boulder. Over half of the 27 acres is parkland adjacent to Boulder Creek that brings natural beauty, historic resources, recreation, green space, culture and people together. At its core is the landmarked Glen Huntington Bandshell built in 1938. The Bandshell has tremendous social, historic and architectural significance and epitomizes the Art Deco style. Few Art Deco buildings were erected in Boulder and the Bandshell is one of the best-preserved examples of this style. It was landmarked in honor of the architect – Glen H. Huntington – who was born in Denver in 1890. Huntington set up practice in Boulder after World War I and has the distinction of being the only Boulder-based architect until 1939. Saco R. DeBoer, a proponent of the early 20th-century City Beautiful Movement, recommended the site and designed an elegant setting for the Bandshell. It is also representative of a significant and rare type of park architecture; there is only one other bandshell of this type in the entire state - in Pueblo.
As plans proceed for the redevelopment of Boulder’s Civic Center, the most recent updated concept plans indicate that the Bandshell is in the way of a grand boulevard on Canyon or expanding Farmers’ Market. This is a very real, imminent threat of losing the Glen Huntington Bandshell. Not only would the community lose a symbol of Boulder’s progressive and innovative spirit, the entire preservation program would suffer an irreparable blow if the city advocates for demolishing one of its own landmarks. Relocating this historic resource would require a demolition permit which places the structure at enormous risk.
Due to the integrity of the Bandshell’s design, context and most importantly, location, it embodies a stellar example of one of the themes for the National Register of Historic Places – Architecture in the Parks. Colorado Preservation, Inc.’s decision to place the Glen Huntington Bandshell on the Endangered Places validates its significance and should persuade city leaders – the elected stewards of Boulder’s historic resources – and the consultants they hire to revitalize this early twentieth century landmark into one that can be re-imagined as a vibrant civic amenity in this century.