Morrison Restaurant Makes Conservation Easement Donation

Credit: The Fort

The Fort, an award-winning and nationally acclaimed “truly Colorado” restaurant located in Morrison, has made a voluntary conservation easement donation to the Colorado Historical Foundation. The easement is intended to protect The Fort and ensure the property’s defining historic characteristics withstand the test of time for current and future generations. 

“The Fort has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 2006, and although a great honor, historic designation does not fully protect the property,” said Holly Arnold Kinney, The Fort proprietress and owner. “As an establishment that’s been woven into the fabric of Colorado’s rich culture for more than 60 years, I am immensely grateful to the Colorado Historical Foundation for ensuring The Fort remains a place for locals and visitors alike to experience authentic Colorado cuisine and learn about the west’s storied history.” The Fort is also home to the Tesoro Cultural Center, an organization committed to protecting and sharing artistic treasures and cultural traditions of the region’s diverse Indigenous and multicultural history. 

Like many Colorado communities, Morrison and Jefferson County are experiencing growth. The easement will protect The Fort’s architecture and surrounding land and conserve 8.5 acres of cultural landscape, including open pastures and unimpeded views of the Denver skyline and the Plains in perpetuity. As part of the easement compilation, the Colorado Historical Foundation has recorded archives encompassing The Fort’s architectural history, current and historic photos, and even the recipe for the building’s adobe bricks. The legal easement document includes maintenance terms and specificity regarding future alteration allowed to the property. 

“As historic property stewards, the Colorado Historical Foundation staff will visit the site annually,” said Catherine Stroh, Colorado Historical Foundation executive director. “Collaboration and partnership with current and future owners are crucial and will ensure The Fort continues to serve future generations while honoring its historical essence. We are honored that Ms. Kinney has trusted the Colorado Historical Foundation with protecting her family’s legacy, and look forward to this partnership.”

Designed by acclaimed architect William Lumpkins, known for his mastery of adobe structures, The Fort was built in 1961 by Sam and Elizabeth Arnold as a scale replica of the historic fur trading post, Bent’s Fort in Colorado’s Otero County. With the help of 22 men, over 80,000 mud and straw bricks – weighing 40 pounds each – were puddled to construct the main building. With costs for construction exceeding the budget, the Arnolds decided to transform The Fort into a restaurant which opened February 1963, and has operated since. 

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