Historic Routt County recognizes leadership of Hellyer, Leslie | SteamboatToday.com

Historic Routt County recognizes leadership of Hellyer, Leslie

Hayden resident Donna Hellyer was given the Historic Preservation Leadership Award on Thursday for championing historic preservation across Routt County.

Hayden’s history advocates shone Thursday evening at Historic Routt County’s annual meeting.

Donna Hellyer and Jan Leslie won the Historic Preservation Leadership Award from the organization. Hellyer has pushed for historic preservation across the county, and Leslie has created mounds of research behind the scenes, said Patrick Delaney, Historic Routt County board president.

“Donna is a very public face of historic preservation, and she advocates for historic preservation all over the county : so that’s terrific,” Delaney said.

Hellyer has helped lead projects such as getting historical plaques on Hayden buildings. Leslie has written books about the history of Routt County and has compiled information for the Hayden Heritage Center museum.

Museum curator Mary Pat Dunn said she worked closely with both women. Hellyer was heavily involved in Hayden’s centennial celebration, for example.

“She looks specifically at the hands-on kind of stuff,” Dunn said. “Jan is more the research end of it, making sure it’s backed up.”

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Hellyer puts herself out in the community to promote and catalog local history, she said. Hellyer also is a member of the Hayden Planning Commission, the Hayden Chamber of Commerce and the Northwest Colorado Cultural Tourism Association, among other groups.

“Whatever it is, Donna is right there, and she’s a shaker and mover for it,” Dunn said.

At the museum, Dunn works closely with Leslie, a former schoolteacher who spends much of her free time researching.

Leslie has built more than 25 compilations of information about Hayden’s history. She’s also compiled obituaries for people who lived in or were connected to Hayden, Dunn said. She and Leslie are finishing a pictorial history of the area.

“I’m here day to day at the museum, and I see what people come looking for,” Dunn said. “There is never a time, I can say that there’s never a time that a person comes in here to do research that I’m not reaching for something Jan has compiled. Not one time. You just can’t put a price on that.”

Historic Routt County’s board selected the two women for the award, Delaney said. Past winners include Judy Green; Pat Holderness; the city of Steamboat Springs; Wanda Redmond; and Bain and Christine White.

The women earned the honor partly because the board wanted to recognize a flurry of historic preservation activity and awareness in West Routt County. That includes the new plaques for buildings as well as efforts to revitalize the community and preserve structures such as the Solandt Memorial Hospital.

“I think it’s significant in that it recognizes the hard work and the dedication that goes into recognizing the past here in Routt County,” Delaney said. “History continues every day, and a lot of times in the news we read about, hey, historic preservation is not important and we don’t learn anything from it, and these ladies : continue to teach us why it is important.”

Hellyer was on hand to receive her award, but Leslie was unable to attend.

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Articles from our archives

Read about the plaques Donna Hellyer and Jan Leslie are being honored for here.

Read about the the book Jan and Mary Pat Dunn are working on here.

Read about Donna and the historical register here.

Read about Donna Hellyer’s work researching buildings in Hayden here.

Read about Jan Leslie compiling volumes of information about Hayden here.

Read about Donna Hellyer and Hayden’s centennial here.

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