Steve W. Turner, AIA, is the Executive Director for History Colorado and the State Historic Preservation Officer. His professional experience spans several decades and his work includes local, national, and international projects. After earning dual master’s degrees in urban and regional planning and architecture from the University of Illinois, Turner worked as a preservation planner for both the United States / International Council on Monuments and Sites and the United States Army Corps of Engineers Construction Engineering Research Laboratory.
His other professional experience includes working as a historic architect for the National Parks Service, as the director of the History Colorado State Historical Fund, and as the Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer.
Steve believes that historic preservation can benefit communities in several key ways, such as reducing demolition and construction costs, encouraging sustainability by reducing waste, offering economic opportunity, and by offering people a physical connection to their own place in history.
What are you most excited about regarding History Colorado’s role at the NWC?
Any time that History Colorado gets to help save a place that matters, that’s not just a great feeling or a sense of satisfaction we get—we’re really living up to the responsibility that the people of Colorado have entrusted us with. The National Western Center really is a place that matters to so many. It’s not just important to the people of Denver, but with events like the National Western Stock Show, it’s a place of regional and national importance. I’m very proud that we get to help preserve and celebrate the heritage of this incredible historic site.
Why is the NWC project important from your perspective and the perspective of History Colorado?
Whenever you attend an event at the National Western Center, you are part of the history that that place represents. Our preservation programs work enriches that experience. We want to make sure that the people of Colorado can hold on to the great heritage represented both at the NWC and across the state. The NWC has the potential to combine the power of our State Historical Fund grant program, preservation tax credits, and more to ensure that future generations of Coloradans will have the chance to become part of the history of this place.
Is there anything else you want people to know about the NWC project?
History Colorado has a number of pieces in its collection related to the NWC, and the National Western Stock Show in particular. We have a “Loving Cup” award from 1909, a National Western Horse Show award plaque from 1914, posters from the 1800s, and more recent items like a membership card, ticket book, and early 1990s advertising material.
I see History Colorado as being a strong, long-term advocate for the preservation of the NWC going forward, especially in regards to the restoration of the historic 1909 Stadium Arena. We’ll always be looking for ways to help maintain the historic character of the site. We’ll be advocates for that. We’re very happy to be part of the renaissance that the NWC is experiencing.