20 September 2005
Contact: Constance La Lena 719-846-8788

Robin and Jane Barker, owners of the Stone Mansion Bed & Breakfast at 212 East Second Street in Trinidad, have been notified by the U. S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, that their property is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The National Register is the official list of the Nation’s cultural resources which contribute to an understanding of the historical and cultural foundations of the Nation.

The Stone Mansion property has been recognized for its contribution to the heritage of the state of Colorado because of its architecture which possesses high artistic value and represents the work of a master. Designed by the noted architectural firm of I.H. and W.M. Rapp, the most influential architects in Trinidad’s history, the residence is believed to be the firm’s most distinguished extant residential commission. The building displays high artistic values in the quality of its stonework, multiple shingled gables, variety of windows, and wraparound porch. It is representative of transitional eclectic architecture combining late Victorian influences in its rock-faced masonry and shingled gables with flared eaves, broad porch, and pared-down ornament popular in early twentieth century styles.

The Stone Mansion is also associated with the development of the upper class residential area known as “Aristocracy Hill” which is two blocks southeast of the present day intersection of Main and Commercial, the original intersection of two branches of the Santa Fe Trail. Ranching and mercantile trade provided the first wave of Trinidad’s wealth-producing growth, and the area’s most prominent businessmen built substantial homes on the hill above the business district. By the turn of the twentieth century, a second wave of prosperity from coal mining provided the means to build even larger homes in this neighborhood. In 1904 and 1905, C.H. Nichols, a pioneer Trinidad business leader and city mayor, built the Stone Mansion residence and carriage house. Nichols had come to Trinidad in 1879 when it was little more than an adobe village. Twenty-five years later, when Nichols decided to build his new home, he purchased a property with a small adobe house from pioneer merchant Abe Mansbach and did what many other prominent businessmen were doing at the time: replacing a first generation pioneer vernacular home with a new and substantial architect-designed building. Nichols demolished the old adobe structures, and began to build his mansion which cost $15,000, a fortune at the time. It contained every modern amenity, including a bowling alley in the basement. Contrary to popular local belief, the house never contained a swimming pool.

In the hundredth anniversary year of the building of the house, the Barkers are undertaking a complete rehabilitation of the exterior of the structure. With the assistance of a grant from the State Historical Fund, the public face of the property is being restored to its original 1905 appearance. The project includes, re-shingling the decorative gables, restoring soffits and modillions, rebuilding the internal rain gutters, restoring original windows, repointing and cleaning masonry, and reroofing with fire-rated cedar shingles. According to owner Jane Barker, “We are preparing the building for its next hundred years.”

The State Historical Fund is a nationally recognized program of the state of Colorado, funded by tax revenues generated by gaming in the towns of Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek. Grants are awarded by competitive application to preserve Colorado’s architectural and archaeological treasures for public benefit, helping to save the irreplaceable landmarks that tell the story of Colorado’s rich cultural history.

Preservation sponsor is the Trinidad Historical Society. Project manager is Constance La Lena, who provides historic preservation services, including tax credit applications, National and State Register nominations, grant writing and project administration to businesses and organizations in southern Colorado.
Constance La Lena
Restoration Design
124 East Second Street
Trinidad, CO 81082

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