College Collaboration Reopens Historic Tabor Home to Summer Visitors
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Posted by: Matthew Montoya
LEADVILLE - Students and college
instructors with the business entrepreneurial and historic preservation
programs at Colorado Mountain College are collaborating to launch a unique
venture in downtown Leadville.
The historic Tabor Home on East Fifth Street reopened as a public
museum on Memorial Day, showcasing the house Horace Tabor built in 1878 for his
first wife, Augusta. The museum is run as a tourism site by Colorado Mountain
College students from the historic preservation program, with support from
students in the entrepreneurship program.
The historic preservation students are involved in hands-on, experiential
learning in cataloging the museum contents and maintaining the inside and
outside of the building. The students will create new interpretive displays and
host special events at the Tabor Home, which was one of the first lavish homes
built in Leadville during the silver mining boom.
At the back of the historic home, college staff members are converting a
1950s addition into small office spaces to house a new Timberline Student
Business Incubator, which will open for business this fall. Susanna Spaulding,
director of the college’s entrepreneurship program, said she believes it is the
only incubator specifically for students in Colorado.
Spaulding said Leadville’s incubator is based on a successful model from a
community college in Springfield, Mass., housed in an old armory commissioned
by George Washington.
"The incubator will enable students to have office space where they can be
visible and meet with clients. It will support the students as they work to
make their businesses viable,” said Spaulding. "The student business incubator
connects the real world to academics with a supportive environment that
includes advisors and mentors, technical assistance and an equipped office
To locate funding to support student entrepreneurs and kick start the
incubator, Spaulding presented a pitch for her idea during a January conference
for the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship.
Spaulding’s efforts earned a $5,000 grant from the John E. and Jeanne T. Hughes
Charitable Foundation. The grant supports students at the CMC Timberline Campus
and Lake County High School who apply for mini-grants for their entrepreneurial
Five individuals or student teams were awarded $750 mini-grants each in April.
Two teams of students from Lake County High School earned funds for a coffee
cart business and for photography services, while three Colorado Mountain
College students won support for businesses in carpentry, preservation and
tie-dye clothing. Remaining Hughes grant funds will be used for more student
mini-grants this fall.
Tabor Home finds new lease on life
The Tabor Home formerly was operated by the City of Leadville as a museum
during the summers. Robert Ogle, director of the college’s historic
preservation program, said the house is a fine example of Victorian-era
vernacular architecture in the Gothic Revival style. The restoration of the
exterior of the building was completed in 2006 by the city through a grant from
the State Historical Fund, a program of the Colorado Historical Society. The
State Historical Fund awards grants to public and nonprofit organizations to
preserve Colorado’s architectural and archaeological treasures for public
The city now is renting the property to the college for the new educational
venture. Historic preservation students operate the museum. A portion of
revenues generated from entrance fees will help to keep overhead low at the
business incubator, where students pay $50 a month in rent.
The Tabor Home originally stood on Leadville’s Harrison Avenue, where the Tabor
Opera House now stands. Horace Tabor, perhaps the town’s most widely known
prospector, businessman and politician, moved the home to the current location
in 1879 in order to build the opera house using his fortune from interests in
The museum is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Labor Day. The entrance fee is $2
for children, $3 for seniors, $4 for students and $5 for adults. Museum-goers
can purchase a new passport for entrance into five historic locations in
Leadville during the summer season for $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and $11
for children. The passport is made possible through a partnership with the
participating museums and the Leadville/Lake County Chamber of Commerce.
Entrepreneurship, historic preservation offered at multiple campuses
Expertise of program directors broad, deep
Susanna Spaulding knows about business, as a small business owner with a master’s
degree in business administration and a Ph.D. in education who also spent more
than 25 years in corporate financial management in New York City and business
development in Botswana, Bulgaria and rural Colorado.
The entrepreneurship program at Colorado Mountain College is offered at four of
the college’s campuses, in Aspen, Steamboat Springs, Leadville and
Breckenridge/Dillon, and through distance learning. Students are able to earn
an associate of applied science degree as well as occupational certificates in
e-business/e-commerce or small business finance. Individual classes, such as
small business management, also are popular with business owners.
More information about the entrepreneurial student mini-grant program or the
Timberline Student Business Incubator is available by contacting Spaulding at
Robert Ogle is associate professor, director and division chair for historic
preservation at Colorado Mountain College. Previously, he was director of the
Center for Historic Architecture and Preservation and an adjunct assistant
professor in the graduate historic preservation program, College of Design, at
the University of Kentucky. He also served as historic preservation program
development director and instructor for Bucks County Community College, in
In 1999, he turned his business acumen toward helping educational institutions
integrate the design disciplines of architecture, interior design, engineering
and historic preservation to better meet industry demand. In 2004, he
cofounded Design Lab, Inc., and currently serves as president and a director of
the not-for-profit company. Ogle is a frequent speaker on the subject of the
business and economics of historic preservation and consults on historic
preservation pedagogy and curriculum development.
He is pursuing a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado-Denver and has earned a
master of historic preservation degree from the University of Kentucky, a
certificate in historic preservation from Bucks County Community College and a
bachelor of science degree in finance and economics from Philadelphia
Colorado Mountain College’s historic preservation program,
headquartered in Leadville, offers a blend of classroom, technical and
experiential learning so that students are well-rounded in subjects from
architecture to crafting skills. Preservation courses also are available at
other campuses in Breckenridge, Edwards and Steamboat Springs.
For more information about Colorado Mountain College’s historic preservation
program, contact Ogle at (719) 486-4230.