It’s time to thank our longtime Historic Eastside resident and HENA Hero Glenn Sherwood!
Glenn has been passionate about historic preservation his whole life.
Glenn first developed a love for all things historic starting before it was cool, back in the early 70s. He championed his vision of a neighborhood historic district long before it was in vogue.
Helping save St Stephen’s Church in the early 70s
At the age of 21, Glenn carried a petition to city council to help save St. Stephen’s Church building (on the corner of 5th and Main). The building was saved, and then purchased by the St. Vrain Historical Society in 1971. Now “The Well,” it is a church again.
Stopping the Destruction–Establishing Good Zoning in the early 1980s
By the early 70s, things were looking very grim for the Eastside. The city seemed set on “redeveloping” the Eastside in order to “promote high-density residential, professional offices, and parking lots to serve downtown.”
Architecturally incompatible apartment blocks sprung up across the Eastside.
In 1980, determined locals, with Glenn as a leader, formed the Citizens for Sensitive Revitalization in opposition to the city’s plans. It was a long campaign, but the city did finally rezone the Eastside again to a lower density (a unique compromise called “RLE”), in 1982. This zoning stayed in place until September 2018.
Starting Longmont’s very first neighborhood group
The Citizen for Sensitive Revitalization group went on to become the Historic Eastside Neighborhood Association, the first neighborhood association in Longmont.
Glenn wrote the earliest newsletters that helped galvanize the Eastside. Being a techie guy, Glenn had one of earliest personal computers. There was no word processing at the time, but he did produce computer printouts. It was very time-consuming and intricate to make changes, but Glenn wrote articles every month for years, starting in 1980. They were printed and delivered to every home in the Eastside by volunteers.
Glenn also created and shared a slideshow of neighborhood houses that he showed to the Planning & Zoning Commission and to City Council. Glenn also gave that presentation to school classrooms many times over the years.
Serving on Historic Preservation Boards from the early 80s
Over the decades, starting in 1983, Glenn served on several boards and commissions that strive to preserve the history of this area, such as the Landmarks Designation Commission.
Helping Create the Eastside’s National Historic District in 1986
In 1986 Glenn helped create the Eastside’s National Historic District.
He started by researching and writing a history of the neighborhood called Longmont’s Historic Eastside to encourage the city to start surveys of its historic properties.
Glenn then helped create the initial survey, paid for by contributions from local residents, that prequalified some of the neighborhood as a National Historic District.
As a result of his work, some of our neighborhood is nationally recognized for its cultural and architectural importance.
Since those days, HENA has been adding to the number of surveys (although there is still more to do in the neighborhood).
Saving the Carnegie Library in the early 90s
Even after all this work, Glenn’s skills and determination were still needed—now the city wanted to demolish the Carnegie Library.
Glenn was the main driver of the successful “Save the Carnegie Library” Project, from 1991 to 1994. He spearheaded the fierce push from Eastside residents to save the Library, built at the corner of Fourth and Kimbark in 1913.
In 1991, the city council was seriously considering relocating or demolishing the Carnegie Library. Residents jammed city council meetings in protest. It was Glenn who in 1992 was instrumental in pushing for it to become listed as a National Historic Structure in the National Register of Historic Places, in order to protect it from the city.
It was a long fight with an irate city council, but in 1994 the city council voted 4-3 to preserve it. After this turning point, the city eventually found the funds to rehabilitate it. It is still in use today, housing the local public access TV station. A new library was built next door.
It was Glenn who put in the National Historic Structure application, tirelessly wrote letters, and met with people at the state level in order to save this beautiful building.
Glenn made a short video about the Carnegie Library. It was given an honorable mention at the My Hero International Film Festival in 2015.
Other Fun Facts About Glenn
He was an engineering technician at the National Institute of Standards Technology in Boulder.
He played double bass in the Longmont Symphony Orchestra for more than 30 years.
He’s a nationally known professional audio recording engineer. Glenn has collaborated in recording the performances of the Longmont Symphony Orchestra (since 1987) and of the MahlerFest in Boulder.
Glenn recently created a DVD called the Longmont Symphony Orchestra: Looking Back 50 years (also available in the Longmont Library).
Glenn invested years in uncovering the story of Vinnie Ream, a distant relative from the late 1800s who sculpted the statue of Abraham Lincoln that resides in the US Capitol rotunda. In those days, it was very unusual for a woman, let alone a young woman, to receive such a commission.
Glenn wrote a book about Vinnie’s life called A Labor of Love, The Life and Art of Vinnie Ream. He then wrote and produced an hour-long PBS film about her called Vinnie Ream: Lincoln’s Young Sculptor.
The short film version won the California Festival Short Film Award. You can also find it on YouTube.
There’s also a copy of both the book and video at the Longmont Library. Go check them out!
Thank you, Glenn, for everything you have done for the Eastside!
Written by HENA Co-Chair Dido Clark, with thanks to Mike Palmer and Bob McLaughlin.