Historic Eastside, Neighborhood Groups
As the name implies, the Historic Eastside neighborhood is strongly historical in character. A large number of the homes in this neighborhood date from the late 1800's or early 1900's, and many have been carefully restored. Laid out by the original town planners in 1871, this neighborhood features several unique amenities associated with original Longmont, such as wide streets, large lots, and many mature trees. One of the main characteristics of the Historic Eastside neighborhood is its small town feel, which is emphasized by its proximity to historic Main Street shops and services.
The entire neighborhood is within easy walking distance of the Longmont library and civic center building, as well as the historic downtown area. The neighborhood includes the Columbine Elementary School, which was erected in 1906, and several historic churches. Another popular feature of the neighborhood is Collyer Park, a one-block-square park with many large trees, some dating back to the original founding of Longmont. The park also includes picnic shelters, open lawn areas, play equipment for children, a sand volleyball court, and two paved tennis/pickle courts. Foxes, raccoons, squirrels, and many species of birds make themselves at home in the neighborhood. Many Eastside homeowners enjoy gardening. Visitors to Longmont often find themselves strolling leisurely through the neighborhood, savoring the charm and character of the historic homes and beautiful gardens.
A portion of the neighborhood is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, having many outstanding homes built in the late 1890's and early 1900's. The homes in the Historic Eastside neighborhood reflect the entire history of Longmont since the original founding of the city in 1871.
Early development of the neighborhood was sporadic and disperse. Houses were scattered along the plain, usually with one dwelling per block, with the oldest and largest homes typically being built on corner lots. The other housing sites were developed in the ensuing decades, and property owners later began to subdivide the large lots into sites with room for two to three dwelling units.
Thus, the architecture of the neighborhood reflects a wide variation of styles, including cottages, bungalows, and Craftsman- and Victorian-style homes. Uniformity is not a feature of the residences in the Historic Eastside neighborhood! However, many of the houses reflect the charm and character of bygone times.
Neighborhood Grant Projects
In 2006, the Historic Eastside neighborhood received a Neighborhood Revitalization Grant for $100,000 from the City of Longmont. Working through the HENA organization, and with a great deal of input from neighborhood residents, the grant funds were applied to planting additional trees along the city right-of-way, adding historical lighting in Collyer Park, and assisting neighborhood residents with home repairs and improvements, among other uses. Smaller grants are used, for example, to fund get-togethers that promote the Eastside's rich history and strong neighborhood associations.
The Historic Eastside Neighborhood Association (HENA) was the first organized association of its kind in Longmont, and remains very active. HENA holds bi-monthly meetings and organizes many events to promote neighborhood pride and good neighboring, as well as publishing a bi-monthly newsletter hand-delivered to homes throughout the neighborhood. Annual events include, for example, a neighborhood-wide garage sale that attracts many buyers from outside the neighborhood. HENA has also been very active in protecting and enhancing Collyer Park.
The Historic Eastside Neighborhood is the oldest neighborhood in Longmont, and was originally settled as the "Chicago-Colorado Colony" in 1871. Longmont was a planned development, platted prior to settlement, with the streets laid out on a north south, east west grid system. Many streets in the Historic Eastside Neighborhood are named after original founding fathers of Longmont, including Kimbark, Emery, Collyer, Atwood, and Baker.
With its large lots and wide streets, the Historic Eastside neighborhood was originally the preferred residential area in Longmont. However, with the advent of the Kuner-Empson cannery in 1887 and the Sugar Factory in 1902 just to the south of the neighborhood, the neighborhood became more working class. Many dwellings on the Eastside became rental homes, and a number of the larger residences were subdivided into apartments. Some of the houses were even relocated to the Westside Historic District on the other side of Main Street. After the closing of the cannery in 1970 and the sugar factory in 1977, the neighborhood entered a period of further decline. In the late 1960's and 1970's, some historic homes in the neighborhood were demolished and replaced by high-density residential buildings. However, in 1980 the community united in an effort to halt this trend, and the neighborhood was rezoned. As of this writing, the only permitted uses are single family residential use and conditional conversion of single family dwellings for multiple residential uses. Many of the homes have now been renovated, and the neighborhood is currently enjoying a minor renaissance.
The Historic Eastside Neighborhood encompasses a .29 square mile tract located just to the East of Longmont's Historic Main Street and Central Business District. It is bounded by 9th Avenue on the north, Martin Street on the east, 3rd Avenue on the south, and Kimbark Street on the west.
A portion of the Historic Eastside neighborhood, the East Side Historical District, was listed in the National Registry in 1986 (District No. 86002812) and is roughly bounded by Long's Peak Avenue on the north, Collyer Street on the east, Fourth Avenue on the south, and Emery Street on the west.
October 15, 2007