AN INCLUSIVE COMMUNITY FOR ALL WHO
The Golden Valley Historical Society was established in 1974. Its mission is to find, preserve, and disseminate historical knowledge about the City of Golden Valley, Minnesota.
The Golden Valley Historical Society (GVHS) has completed a project that evaluates Golden Valley’s historic resources from 1852 through 1975. The City of Golden Valley Historic Context Study was begun in 2020 and completed in January 2021. It is one of the most comprehensive research documents ever produced on the history of Golden Valley.
Historic context studies typically provide frameworks for evaluating a city’s historic resources based on themes, geographic limits, and chronological periods. The Golden Valley study offers a comprehensive overview of the city’s broad patterns of historical development. These themes can support preservation planning activities that build a future while respecting the past.
The 102-page study includes recommendations on how to guide preservation efforts, interpret historic sites, and increase public awareness of local history. The study’s wide-ranging scope includes:
Agriculture and farming
Parks and recreation
Social, cultural, and religious activities
Commerce and light industry
Suburban development and civic life
Residential architectural styles
Recommendations and future actions
The Society is excited to offer this study as a resource that can inform the public, city officials, local businesses, civic organizations, and researchers about Golden Valley's history and its treasured historic resources. The research was commissioned by GVHS and completed by Thomas R. Zahn & Associates LLC in partnership with project manager Crystal Boyd as well as GVHS and its volunteers.
Contractor Tom Zahn says the Golden Valley study might be “the most comprehensive multi-themed historical context study produced in the state.” He added that it can serve “as a guide to future evaluation, designation, and good preservation planning practices.”
Project manager Crystal Boyd underscored the importance of the study for city planning efforts. She said, “This context study provides tools to help citizens and planners consider Golden Valley’s historic resources while planning for the city’s future.”
In an early stage of the project, the Golden Valley city council passed a resolution to support GVHS’s efforts to undertake the historic context study. GVHS secured $9,650 from a Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grant through the Minnesota Historical Society. These grants are made possible by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment. Additional funding was provided by GVHS.
A key recommendation of the study is to establish a city Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC). This commission could play an integral role in incorporating preservation planning into city development and redevelopment processes.
At its February 2 regular meeting, the city council approved a motion to accept its organizational Pyramid of Success for 2021. One of the five organizational priorities for the year is to look deeper into the merits of creating a HPC. City council member Larry Fonnest, who serves on the GVHS board of directors as liaison to the city council, championed efforts to establish a HPC and is excited “that it is now a priority item for 2021, ensuring that further research and discussion will now take place.”
The City of Golden Valley Historic Context Study is now available to the public (click here).