Caretaker’s Cottage in Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park, once part of the Mary “May” Bonfil’s Stanton estate, now has an exhibit and research room where volunteers help community members and researchers explore local history.
The cottage, one of five original structures in the park that was not moved to the site, 801 S. Yarrow St., was renovated inside and out over the past 10 years, and the historic research space was introduced inside the 1,235 square feet store. cottage in September, said Katy Lewis, museum inspector at Heritage Lakewood.
“The Caretaker’s Cottage will once again serve in its care capacity, this time protecting and preserving Lakewood’s history,” Lewis said. “It’s a historical structure, placing the research space here gives you a sense of local history while you research.”
The research room, staffed by volunteers, is open to the public from 10:00 to 16:00 on Tuesdays (but is closed on public holidays, 21 and 28 December). Use of the room and its materials, including document archives and photographs, is free of charge. Agreements can be made; call 303-987-7879 to use the room outside of Tuesday’s time frame. Online research can be done at lakewood.pastperfectonline.com.
Building upgrades included electrical work, foundation repairs, roofing, siding, exterior paint, replacement of interior drywall, and landscaping. The cottage has six rooms and a garage.
History The Colorado State Historical Fund awarded the city of Lakewood a grant of $ 200,000 for the exterior work in 2014 and $ 200,000 for the interior work in 2017, Lewis said. Lakewood matched these fund amounts as a requirement for the grant. Over the course of 10 years, about $ 1 million has been spent on cottage projects.
At the time of her death in 1962, Bonfil’s Stanton owned about 750 acres, mostly farmland, south of West Alameda Avenue and east and west of Wadsworth Boulevard. The package included a 20-room palace-like mansion known as Belmar – an abbreviated combination of Bonfil’s Stanton’s mother’s first name, Belle, and her name, Mary.
In the 1960s and into the 1970s, the property began its journey into the properties we know today – Lakewood Municipal Center and the surrounding retail area, Belmar (formerly Villa Italia), and the approximately 100-acre Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park. Bonfil’s Stanton’s mansion was demolished in 1971, its footprint is now Irongate Executive Plaza, an office park. The wrought iron and stone gate that marked the entrance to the mansion property still stands.
The house was built in 1910 and was originally owned by a farmer who ordered it through a magazine and built it “piece-by-piece on the property”, according to the city’s historical records. The house became a caretaker’s residence in the 1930s as part of the Belmar estate owned by Bonfil’s Stanton. Before the research room was introduced, the cabin has been used as a museum office and storage space since 1976.
“The caretaker, who was among the original buildings on May Bonfil’s Stanton Estate, is now among the few left,” he said. Tom Noel, a Colorado historian. “The Caretakers Cottage is part of the history of Belmar and Lakewood. May Bonfil’s Stanton would have set foot in the cottage at some point.”
Noel looks like Lewis symmetry in the research space lands in Caretaker’s Cottage.
“I think it’s a great thing,” Noel said.
Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park is a history park, a museum and festival experience that, according to the city, pays homage to the local community. It is home to 15 historic buildings, more than 40,000 artifacts, rotating and permanent exhibits, a festival area and an outdoor amphitheater.