historic preservation eastlake grain elevator

Historic Recognition

Community recognition of Thornton's history and heritage creates a sense of belonging, pride, and identity. Identification and preservation of buildings and structures from the city's history help make Thornton a special place. In December 2012, City Council adopted the "Historic Recognition Code" which is Chapter 19 of the Thornton City Code to provide a procedure for officially recognizing historic sites, structures, and districts within the city.  To view the Historic Recognition Code (Chapter 19) you can click this link to the code language. 

Like many suburbs built after 1950, Thornton's history as a city begins at its agricultural roots in the late 1800s and early 1900s, long before its incorporation as a municipality in 1956. This history extends through the original post-WWII subdivisions into the extraordinary population growth of recent decades. Structures built before the early 1960s are now older than 50 years and could be eligible for listing in the state and national register of historic places. Thornton's Historic Recognition Code provides a mechanism for nominating these structures for local historic designation. 


​Historic Preservation Plan

Thornton is embarking on a Historic Preservation Plan. Outreach and project development are underway and are planned through the Spring of 2024; for more information please visit the project webpage by clicking this link. Contact Thornton Long Range Planning Division to be added to the update email list: LongRange.Planning@ThorntonCO.gov or call 303-538-7438


Thornton Historic Preservation Documents of Interest 

In working towards preserving Thornton's history the city has researched and prepared studies, masterplans and design guidelines to assist Thornton's community members and developers in understanding Thornton's history and what actions should be taken to preserve that history. Below is a list of documents to assist in better understanding what actions to take and what actions have been taken to preserve Thornton's history.  


Historic Preservation Documents of Interest