Preserving Breckenridge’s history
August 11, 2012
At the inaugural Theobald Award reception Friday night, there was not one, but three people honored.
“We had a lot of nominations and decided since it’s the first year, we can create our own rules. So we decided on three individuals,” Larissa O’Neil, executive director of the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance, told the crowd.
The newly created award, given by the alliance, honors individuals, businesses or projects that help celebrate, maintain and preserve Breckenridge’s history. The first-year winners are part-time Breckenridge resident Rich Skovlin, full-time resident Maureen Nicholls and Colorado Springs local Thomas Price.
Price, a high school student, spent “countless hours” researching log cabin naturalist Edwin Carter, the namesake of the town’s Edwin Carter Discovery Center. Price developed a monologue of Carter, and even won a history competition for his portrayal of the naturalist last year, a rendition he performed for the crowd on Friday.
“By 1875, I decided to dedicate the rest of my life to the preservation of nature … once gone, the animals can’t come back,” Price said, dressed as Carter.
Skovlin was honored for his longtime involvement in the history and heritage of Breckenridge, and the presentation of it to the public, according Rick Hague, who presented the award. Skovlin has inspired, and promoted many ideas, like the Washington Mine.
Nicholls, a Breckenridge resident since the 1960s, “is the go-to person for Breckenridge history,” said presenter Robin Theobald, who went to her when searching for photos to assist in the revitalization of the building at the corner of Ski Hill Road and Main Street. Nicholls has been collecting photos and artifacts of Breckenridge since the 60s, and was instrumental in forming the first historical society. Many of her finds became the core of the society’s collection.
“It would not have been right to have the first Theobald Award happen and not recognize Maureen Nicholls,” Theobald said.
“When we thought about what we should call it, we naturally thought of the Theobald family for two reasons,” said O’Neil.
First, Robin Theobald is a fifth-generation resident, and his son, Rob, is sixth-generation. Second, the Theobald family has done a lot to maintain the historic character of Breckenridge, O’Neil said.
“They’ve been involved in preservation projects for about 40 years, and do a lot of it just because they feel it’s the right thing to do,” she said.
More recent projects include the Barney Ford House Museum and the 1880 general store at the corner of Ski Hill Road and Main Street. Robin Theobald currently serves on the Board of the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance.
“I think it’s a wonderful honor,” Robin Theobald said when asked about the award’s name. And, it’s a wonderful idea “to really recognize people that have made a major contribution on an ongoing basis to historic preservation and the history and appreciation of history in Breckenridge.”