A Denver museum dedicated to the history of African-Americans in the West is getting funding for facility upgrading work.
That work will include new masonry as well as replacing windows in the two-story structure located at 3091 California Street.
The Black American West & Heritage Museum is popularly known as the long-time residence of Justina Ford, who moved to Denver in 1902 and became the city’s first and - for decades - only African-American woman doctor.
Ford, who died in October of 1952 at the age of 81, was only finally admitted to the American Medical Association in 1949, despite the fact that she had delivered well over seven thousand babies during her years of practice.
Ford’s Victorian era home was eventually transformed in the mid-1980s into the Black American West & Heritage Museum, a facility honoring not only her career, but also the history of African-Americans and former slaves who moved to Colorado after the Civil War, working as farmers and ranchers, among other professions.
The non-profit group Historic Denver Inc. earlier this year launched a campaign to have the Ford home included as one of twenty historic finalist sites eligible for funding through a program called Partners in Preservation.
That program, a joint effort between the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the American Express Company, yearly provides funding for historic site upkeep projects.
The program itself, since its founding in 2006 has awarded more than $22 million in grant funding to more than two hundred site upkeep projects nationally.
In online balloting this fall, more than 61,300 people voted in favor of the Black American West & Heritage Museum getting Partners in Preservation funding.
That result allowed the museum upgrade project to place tenth in the final top twenty historic sites, securing $150,000 for the masonry and window work.
Altogether, the program this year awarded nearly $2 million in historic place funding nationally.
Originally constructed in 1890, the Ford home sits on a stone foundation and has been lauded by architectural historians for its porch end brackets, dentils, and pressed metal cornice finials.
By Garry Boulard
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