City Council declares August 2022 Arvada Historical Society Month

300-member Arvada Historical Society celebrates 50th Anniversary

Rylee Dunn
rdunn@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 12/31/69

In August 1972, a group of Arvadans led by local teacher, historian and author Lois Lindstrom Kennedy began the expansive undertaking of uncovering and preserving Arvada’s history. Fifty years later, the Arvada City Council recognized the Arvada Historical Society with a proclamation declaring August 2022 as Arvada Historical Society Month.

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City Council declares August 2022 Arvada Historical Society Month

300-member Arvada Historical Society celebrates 50th Anniversary

Posted

In August 1972, a group of Arvadans led by local teacher, historian and author Lois Lindstrom Kennedy began the expansive undertaking of uncovering and preserving Arvada’s history. Fifty years later, the Arvada City Council recognized the Arvada Historical Society with a proclamation declaring August 2022 as Arvada Historical Society Month.

The proclamation — conferred by Arvada Mayor Marc Williams, a member of the society — praised the Society’s accomplishments over the past five decades, which include establishing the Arvada History Museum, getting the Arvada Flour Mill recognized by the National Register of Historic Places, aiding in the city’s establishment of the Olde Town Historic District and spearheading the dedication of Gold Strike Park.

Lindstrom herself contributed to a number of those initiatives coming to fruition. Her work as a researcher was documented in her reference books including “First Gold: Lewis Ralston and Arvada,” “The Old Mill: Arvada Flour Mills,” “Waters of Gold,” and “Ralston’s Gold.”

Historical Society President Karen Miller called Lindstrom a “heck of a leader” and praised her passion for the area’s history and preservation efforts.  

“(Lindstrom) could really rally the troops,” Miller said. “(In the early days) I think it was a very committed large group of individuals that were energized by creating this new thing. And under Lois’ leadership they just rolled up their sleeves and got to work and created this organization.”

Arvada Mayor Marc Williams (left) confers a proclamation to Arvada Historical Society President Karen Miller at the Aug. 1 city council meeting.
Arvada Mayor Marc Williams (left) confers a proclamation to Arvada Historical Society President Karen Miller at the Aug. 1 city council meeting.

Lindstrom moved to incorporate the society on Aug. 24, 1972; exactly 68 years — to the day — after the incorporation of the City of Arvada. At the time, Arvada was at a crossroads between the farming community of yore and the budding city it would become.

“It was a small town, and life centered around the Olde Town area and old Arvada. those people grew up when there was one high school,” Miller said. “You have to put it into context of a small town where people know each other. There’s an aspect to the society, too, of ‘we grew up together and we’re committed to this town and want to put this stuff in place.’”

Catherine Walter, a member of the society’s board and the chairperson of the society’s membership committee, said she’s made a lot of friends throughout her 25-year tenure with the society, and praised Lindstrom and other early researcher’s efforts as fundamental to preserving Arvada’s history.

“It’s been wonderful,” Walter said of her time with the society. “I’ve made a lot of friends; I get to reach out to the community and do school tours. I get to meet all kinds of people.

“I am so impressed by our historians who wrote the history books,” Walter continued. “I’m amazed by Lois Lindstrom and the founding people, how hard they researched all of this stuff. I go back to ‘Waters of Gold’ time after time and used (Lindstrom’s books) as a reference. They didn’t have the luxury of the internet or any of that. They were amazing and I’m so thankful to have them.”

The Arvada Historical Society began with a 21-person board and now includes over 300 members, including 12 board members. The organization is a nonprofit and relies solely on the contributions of volunteers and members who contribute annual fees that are utilized by the society.

“I think that the city should be proud to have an organization of volunteers like this that have been so committed for 50 years,” Miller said.

Since 2005, the society has been headquartered in the McIlvoy House near Olde Town. There, the society hosts tours and maintains its archives.

“(Local history) gives us a strength of community,” Walter said. “This is us, this is who we are, this is who we came from — look at how we’ve grown!”

Throughout August, the society is offering half-price memberships, which can be purchased on their website; historyarvada.org. The society is also hosting a 50th Anniversary celebration from 5-7 p.m. Aug. 27 at the McIlvoy House, located at 7307 Grandview Ave.

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