Celebrating Our Fourth Birthday!

Today Form+Works celebrates our fourth birthday! It has been quite a ride, especially over the last 12 months. Despite the challenges of the last year, we are continuing to work hard saving and preserving some inspiring pieces of our shared history! We are thankful for our wonderful clients and consultants who have helped us to succeed and, of course, for the unending support of our families and friends. We could not do our jobs nearly as well without this amazing community to encourage us and celebrate with us. We’re looking forward to many more years of working together to preserve historic places!

To celebrate, we are sharing a few of our favorite project photos from the last four years!

Form Works Expands to Leadville

We know it has been ages since we posted, but we’ve just been going with the flow, as everyone weathers these interesting times. We are still here and preserving historic buildings left and right. Here are a few from Spring/Summer 2020 to whet your appetite as you read through this update.  We do keep our Instagram updated with our projects, so if you have not started following us, please do!

With the pandemic, work has changed for everyone. We have been fortunate to adapt to working-from-home fairly seamlessly. For those of you following along on our business journey, we started Form Works at Jessica’s kitchen table and bounced around to libraries and coffee shops in between working from our homes. So, the transition for us was a return to our start-up days. Regardless, big shout out to our amazing husbands and kids for being extremely supportive and resilient.

As we’ve seen with other friends and businesses, this has been a great time of reflection. With our successful transition to 100% working from home, we’ve spent our spare time discussing our future goals and dreams. From inception, Form Works has had a long-term plan for a mountain office. When we started discussing this goal, it was more of a 5-10 years down the road thought. However, with recent events and our ability to maintain service to Denver and the Front Range from our homes, we started taking a closer look.

When a small office space freed up along Leadville’s historic Harrison Avenue, all the stars began to align. While we are sad to leave our first office in the historic Edward W. Wynkoop Building, we are excited to join the tenants and Owners caring for our “new” building. We are looking forward to expanding our ability to better serve our mountain clients.

A little about the new digs: the historic Fearnley Block/Iron Building was built in 1893. It was completed right as the nationwide silver crash was occurring. It is thought the name “Iron Building” was given because the discovery of iron ore in the region was a saving grace for Leadville’s economy. This tidbit is all that we know right now, but with a voracious appetite for building histories, we will most certainly be starting our research and see what else we can find out.

We will not be fully settled into the new space until the end of September, but please note our address change:

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 476, Eastlake, Colorado 80614

New Office Address: 516 Harrison Avenue, Leadville, Colorado 80461

We are looking forward to the day we can have visitors in our new space. In the meantime – we hope everyone is doing well. We are sending out virtual hugs and best wishes.

2020 Stephan H. Hart Awards

On January 31, 2020 Form+Works was honored to receive two awards at the History Colorado 2020 Stephen H. Hart Awards for Historic Preservation; one for the restoration of the Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum (aka Tony’s Conoco) and one for the rehabilitation of the Bosler Yankee House. We are absolutely honored to have worked on these buildings and to have been part of the great teams who made them possible. History Colorado put together videos about these and all the Hart awardees. To watch the videos click here

Copy of Bosler_BeforeAfter_01

Before and After of the Bosler Yankee House

Copy of Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum_HSA

After Photo of the Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum

To learn more about the Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum, visit their website by clicking here.

4Bar4 – Ford Barn Rehabilitation and Stagecoach Hotel Reconstruction

The 4Bar4 Ranch is located near the Town of Fraser, Colorado. The Town was officially established in 1904, however the Ranch was homesteaded in 1895 by Dick McQueary. McQueary established a stop for the Georgetown and Middle Park Stagecoach Line that ran between Idaho Springs and Hot Sulphur Springs, over Berthoud Pass. The ranch was one of two stops on the west side of the pass where horses were changed out. For the purposes of the Stagecoach stop, a log hotel and barn were erected utilizing trees on the property. md_4x4cabin8057slide.jpg

The hotel remained operational until 1913. From 1913-1917 the Barn was converted into a Ford Motor Company dealership, selling Model T’s*, thus it has become known as “The Ford Barn”. Rumor has it that there was a ramp where they would take the cars to the second level of the Barn for display. JVA, our structural engineer, would likely have panicked should we have proposed such a use for the second story of the structure today.

Feltch days with cars

In 1917, Harry Larkin purchased the property and re-established it as a cattle ranch. The ranch remained operational until the late 1980s when it was left vacant. The property was acquired by the Stagecoach Meadows Homeowner’s Association and unfortunately in 2014 the roof of the hotel collapsed. This led to a focused effort by Stagecoach Meadows and their preservation partners to save these early log structures.

East and North Elevations

Stagecoach Hotel circa 2012

In 2015, Jessica completed a Historic Structures Assessment of the two buildings. At the time, both were in very poor shape. Years of settlement put the bottom rows of logs below grade, resulting in deterioration that shifted the structures. With the roof collapse on the hotel, it was determined that the roof of the barn should be dismantled for safety reasons. The Barn was temporarily shored and a temporary membrane was installed over the top of the existing structure to protect it from further deterioration. The Stagecoach hotel was dismantled, maintaining good sections of the walls in one piece, all parts were labeled and stored.


Since the assessment, through continued funding through the State Historical Fund and support and efforts of Colorado Preservation Inc., the rehabilitation of the Barn has been completed. Our team developed the documents and monitored the construction activities and we are pleased to see the Ford Barn back. The project involved a new foundation below the log structure, replacing deteriorated components, introducing roof trusses and much more. Currently the replacement pieces are discernable, but in a few years the wood will patina to blend with the historic.

This fall/winter we’ve been developing the reconstruction documents for the Stagecoach Hotel.  As soon as the Spring weather allows, construction will begin. Stay tuned!

*Fun facts: Natalie comes from a long-line of Ford enthusiasts. When Natalie’s Dad was 19, he and a friend drove a 1929 Ford Model A Sedan from Lees Summit, Mo to Vail, Co for a Model A car show. It was an adventurous trip with break downs and all. Natalie and her family are in the process of restoring their ’72 Bronco and they recently inherited a ’68 Mustang from her husband’s Aunt. 

Building Winterization and Multi-Phased Projects: the North London Mill Office

When the snow starts to fly in the high country, some of our clients share the same concerns on whether their fragile historic structure will survive the winter. This was the case at our North London Mill Project. Last fall we completed a temporary stabilization of the Office to ensure the structure remained standing for the next phase of work. Knowing we encounter similar building conditions and concerns, we wanted to share a bit about the process.

North London Mill Office Before Temporary Stabilization

The North London Mill is located along Mosquito Pass, one of Colorado’s most infamous 4WD roads that runs between Leadville and Alma. Snow starts falling in October and, some years, it doesn’t let up until late spring/early summer. However, the high winds in the region are year-round. These high country mining structures are at great risk due to the unpredictable snow and wind loads, as illustrated by what is left of them.

Severe Interior Deterioration Before Stabilization

Ian Glaser, Our Structural Engineer From JVA, Inc, Stands Between The Exposed Floor Joists

Another Interior View Of The Deteriorated Conditions

The office received a State Historical Fund Grant in 2018 to complete temporary stabilization and construction documents for the rehabilitation of the building and just received notice of award for another SHF grant to complete the first phase of construction work.

Since the Office is in the best condition of all the remaining structures on the site, it was determined as the best place to start. The building will be adapted into a backcountry ski hut, offering a place of respite and relaxation after an epic day of skiing found right out the back door.

Andy Carlson, Of A&M Renovations, LLC, Digs A Test Pit To Expose The Base Of An Interior Wall

The stabilization grant began with evaluation and documentation. We developed permit documents, that underwent review by History Colorado for compliance with all Secretary of the Interior Standards. Once approved they were submitted to Park County.

Diagonal Bracing Installed At Exterior Walls And Salvaged Materials Are Sorted And Stacked Inside For Reuse

Chimney Framing Remains In Place. Brick Was Deconstructed For Safety

Framing And Shoring Installed To Brace The Existing Framing

The temporary stabilization efforts included the installation of shoring and brace framing on the interior of the Office. The interior wood lathe was removed, except for an area where we encapsulated it, in order to straighten the framing and pin it in place (Note the horizontal boards at the bottom of the wall framing in the photos above). The brick chimneys were deconstructed to prevent them from falling. Flooring and trim was uninstalled and stacked. A lot of the material has already been lost and some of the surviving material will be too deteriorated and rotten to reuse. But we will reuse what we can and utilize the remaining for patterns in recreating material.

Portion Of Wood Lathe and Plaster Encapsulated With Plywood On Each Side Of A Wall

The most important piece of the temporary stabilization activities was enclosing the roof, doors and windows to help slow water from entering the building. A temporary visqueen membrane was installed with wood battens on the roof. The door and window openings were enclosed with plywood.

Mill Office After Temporary Stabilization Activities

This Summer the Office will get a new foundation and the framing and structure will be rehabilitated. New structural members will be integrated into the framing to bring the building up to current code, making it better able to cope with the areas snow and wind loads.

Another part of this Summer’s grant will involve the preparation of stabilization documents for the Mill Building, a much bigger task than the 6-room Office Building. Utilizing similar methodology, our team will design stabilization documents that will hopefully be implemented before next winter.

Future projects for the Office will replace the roof, install windows, doors and siding, as well as interior finishes to make it officially habitable as a hut. Fortunately historic photographs of the site gave us clues to detail the missing exterior features.

North London Mill (Mill Office In The Distance)

The Mill projects will include stabilization and rehabilitation activities to make the site safe for the public. Preliminary planning is underway to program the site into a year-round destination, providing backcountry and outdoor training and hosting a plethora of events. The project is spearheaded by Jeff Crane and Kate McCoy, of North London Mill Preservation Inc., a non-profit team working tirelessly to find funding partners to tackle this sizable project. Multi-phased projects may seem intimidating, however this is a common practice for us. It all starts with proper planning. Our first step began with completing a Historic Structures Assessment to determine the overall list of needs for the site. Then working with the North London Team we developed the prioritized plan. Now it is just a matter of tackling them one by one.

We love working on unique and complex projects of this nature. To stay up to date on the latest news of the North London Mill, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Belmar, Loretto, and Colorado’s Womens’ History


We love finding connections between our projects and we recently uncovered an interesting one. We are wrapping up design work on Phase 2 of the Belmar Caretaker’s Residence as well as a small exhibit space renovation at the Lakewood Heritage Center. Both projects are located on the Belmar Property, once owned by Mary Madeline “May” Bonfils Stanton. Belmar is a mash-up of Mary’s Mother’s name: Belle and her own, thus Belmar. May Bonfils Stanton lived from 1883 – 1962 and was the daughter of Frederick Bonfils, founder of the Denver Post. 


Mary Madeline “May” Bonfils Stanton. Photo Courtesy of Denver Public Library, Western History Collection

The caretaker’s residence is the last building on the Belmar estate in its original location. The oldest part of the structure was a kit house, meaning it was ordered from a catalog, brought to Colorado by rail car and erected using instructions and numbered components. (And you thought that IKEA dresser was difficult!)

Our design includes a viewing window in the ceiling where visitors will be able to look up into the attic and see the kit stamps on the ceiling joists. The first phase of the project involved stabilizing the structure and rehabilitating the exterior finishes. This phase includes adapting the interior for a new exhibit space, conference room and a research library. The building will have a new accessible entrance and restroom.


The Lakewood Heritage Center site is a collection of buildings from the area that were moved to the property in order to tell the story of Lakewood’s history. The exhibit space we are helping with is a small project supporting the exhibit design firm of Quatrefoil that will revamp the Heritage Center’s main welcome area. We are excited for construction in the spring, when we can share photos of these two projects as they get underway (be sure to follow us on Instagram).


The latest connection was found with one of our most recent projects, a historic assessment of the buildings on the Loretto Heights Campus. The new owner has been working with the City of Denver and the local community to develop a plan for the future of the 70+ acre site. That master plan will give consideration to the existing historic buildings. Our evaluation is taking a look at each building’s condition and rehabilitation needs. The most iconic building on the Loretto Heights campus is the Administration Building, constructed from 1890-1891 and designed by Frank E. Edbrooke. In 1911 the Chapel addition, also designed by Edbrooke, was completed on North end of the Administration Building. Frank’s nephew Harry Edbrooke designed Pancratia Hall in 1930 (Check out our connections to the Edbrookes here).


Loretto Heights College sprouted from St. Mary’s Academy, which was originally located on the site of the Convention Center. Loretto Heights was an all-girls college up until the 1970s. We were recently regaled with the deep and wonderful history by a former-student-turned-history-expert.


During her presentation, we realized Mother Pancratia, who founded the College was born Mary Louise Bonfils, the cousin of Frederick Bonfils. Research is still underway as to how large a part Frederick played in the overall development of the Loretto Heights Campus. However, May Bonfils was instrumental in the Campus’ second phase of development in the 1960s.

May Bonfils and her younger sister, Helen, took ownership of the Denver Post after their father. May had a sordid past, for that time period anyway, in that she eloped at 21 with a non-Catholic salesman. As retribution their parents left the majority of the Bonfils estate to May’s sister, Helen, and despite a multi-year legal battle, the only result was the sisters cut off all relations. May lived a semi-reclusive lifestyle on her 750 acre Belmar estate in Lakewood. She invested her wealth into buildings, including her mansion, which was an exact replica of Marie Antoinette’s Petit Trianon chateau in Versailles (Read more about it here).

At Loretto Heights, May endowed the Library that was constructed on the campus in 1961 and the Theater Building that was completed in 1962. These largely intact Mid-Century Modern buildings are real gems. They were designed by the firm of Musik and Musik and May’s portrait sits off the main lobby of the Theater. Unfortunately May died in 1962, so it is unknown if she ever saw the completion of the theater. However, her husband established the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation to continue her legacy of support for the arts. We love that we are working to preserve the last piece of her estate at Belmar and also have a connection to her philanthropic work on the Loretto Heights Campus!  


Beyond the individual buildings themselves, the Loretto Heights Campus offers a unique piece of Colorado history. Mother Pancratia was born in St. Louis in 1852. She was born into a Protestant family but received her education from the Sisters of Loretto. She joined the order at the age of 14 and later was assigned to teach in Denver. She arrived via stage coach at the age of 17, only about a decade after Denver became a City. 


Mother Pancratia Bonfils. Photo Courtesy of Loretto Heights College Archives, Regis University Archives


With our roots mostly in mining and Wild West-like activities, it is easy to imagine the type of Colorado she experienced upon her arrival. However, Mother Pancratia seems to have had one goal in mind: educating women. Loretto Heights College became an accredited college in 1918, pre-dating the 19th Amendment – which gave women the right to vote – by two years. They had an annual enrollment of around 800 and their programs included nursing, teaching, and fine arts degrees. It is always meaningful to realize that people like Mother Pancratia laid some of the groundwork for us and we find a lot to be thankful for as we walk around the campus for those that came before us!









Happy Holidays From Form+Works

2018 has been a wonderful year and we are so appreciative of everyone who has helped to make it a success. We are very thankful to continue to do what we love and play a small part in the life of great historic buildings.

From all of us on the Form+Works team, we hope everyone has a blessed and restful Holiday Season. We are looking forward to sharing more stories of great historic places and debuting our new red hardhats in 2019!


Branching Northward

The holidays are upon us at Form+Works Design Group and we love seeing the lights going up in the cities and towns surrounding our projects. This time of year really creates a magical glow and a closer connection.  We see teams and communities come together to kick-off projects that they may have been talking about for years. That is one of our favorite parts of what we do – celebrating the beginning of bringing these beautiful historic places back. It takes countless hours from so many big-hearted and passionate people, but when the project finally gets to that initial step forward, the celebratory energy is tangible.

historic photo1

We kicked off one such project this month, at the Wyoming Frontier Prison. Form+Works and Wattle and Daub Contractors were selected for the Adaptive Use of the historic Guard’s Quarters adjacent to the Prison. The Wyoming Frontier Prison , located in Rawlins and constructed from 1888-1901, was the first penitentiary in the state and currently operates as a Museum. The Museum worked tirelessly to obtain grants for the project to revitalize the building. We couldn’t be more excited to be involved in this project and add the great state of Wyoming to our list of areas we serve*. The Guard’s quarters will bring more amenities to the site, with a Carbon County Visitor’s Center, exhibit space, and much more! On the exterior the historic stone, windows and doors will all be rehabilitated. The project is planned to be completed by early 2020.


We hope everyone had a blessed and restful Thanksgiving. The Form+Works team is so thankful to do the work that we love.

*Fun Fact: Growing up, Natalie’s parents founded and performed in a bluegrass band named “Why?oming”.

Francisco Fort Rehabilitation Project Out for Bid

DSC_0452.JPGOur Francisco Fort Museum Adobe Project is officially released for bid. There is a Contractor Pre-bid walk through next Wednesday (8/29). For interested contractors please RSVP to Laurie Erwin and request the documents:
Phone: (719) 742-3631
Francisco Fort was a trading post founded by Colonel John Francisco in 1862 (Back when Colorado was still a Territory). It is the last surviving adobe fort in the State and now houses the Francisco Fort Museum.
The rehabilitation project is funded in part by a grant through State Historical Fund. The project includes adobe repairs, restoration of wood windows and doors, structural repairs, the reconstruction of missing chimneys and installation of new roofing. Here are some more before photos.

A Surprise Visitor

A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots – Marcus Garvey

Yesterday started as just your typical sunny and beautiful Colorado day. I was doing a fieldwork double-stop to wrap up some drawings for our Metzger Farm and Braly Barn projects.

Metzger Farm, which sits just north of 120th Avenue between Lowell and Federal Blvd, was my first stop. As I started walking over to the site, via the remaining original driveway, I noticed a couple in front of me walking slowly with their elderly dog.

The husband turned right to get onto the walking path and said something to the effect of “catch you in a minute” as the woman kept walking straight towards the gate. I was only a few steps behind her and as I reached to unlock the gate, I said something to the effect of “hi there, how’s your day?”.

She informed me that she was the granddaughter of the Metzger family! I was so surprised and invited her to come walk around inside the fence with me to look at the buildings and talk about the project. Her husband and their dog walked back over to join us. They had come to take him on his final walk before heading to his vet appointment, which was very heartbreaking. But they told me that they brought him to the open space often and that it was one of his favorite places.

She pointed out where her grandmother had a huge rose garden and she was able to tell me exactly where the dinner bell once sat. We will be reinstalling it as part of the project and there was documentation of which side of the house it once sat, but she was able to point out the exact spot.

After a few minutes walking around, they continued on their walk on the open space trail, but knowing her grandparent’s home would be getting some much needed restoration seemed to brighten their day a little and it certainly brightened mine.

The Metzger family wanted the land to remain open space and the Broomfield-Westminster Open Space Foundation was formed to manage the property jointly between the two Cities. Looking past the open space on all sides and seeing new buildings definitely offers some levity to the importance of preserving historic views and contexts in addition to buildings. Knowing the surrounding fields with walking paths throughout will remain a public asset is uplifting as Colorado continues to change.

John Metzger purchased the 320 acre property in 1943, a year before marrying his wife Betty Amen Metzger. John had a multitude of interesting careers through his life. He was a successful lawyer, entrepreneur and politician. He operated a museum, owned a mine and during World War II, he worked in a munitions factory.

He started the farm to raise dairy cattle, but then began breeding registered Scotch Shorthorn cattle. John named it Loch-in-Vale Farm meaning “Lake in the Valley”. The lake, which sits on the south-side of the collection of farm buildings, was excavated when John worked with Colorado State University testing agricultural crops. The pond is stocked and each year the Foundation hosts a Kids’ Fishing Derby.

Our project includes an exterior restoration of the Metzger farmhouse and many of the out-buildings on-site. The Foundation hopes to have tours of the property and provide interpretation. We are excited to have made the connection with the Metzger’s granddaughter and will be keeping her informed about the project progress.