PRESERVING THE PAST, FORGING THE FUTURE – ON A FIRM FOUNDATION
Robin Theobald is a fifth-generation Breckenridge resident
who proudly reports that his young grandchildren represent the seventh
generation. He’s restored 16 historic buildings and helped guide the
Breckenridge Heritage Alliance. He’s contributed to a business incubator plan
to support entrepreneurs. And with Patty, his wife of 37 years, he founded an
annual award to honor outstanding contribution to the historic preservation of
Robin’s story begins in his childhood home, in what is now
one of nine of the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance museums. “This home was built
by Barney Ford, a prominent escaped slave,” he said. In the 1880s, Ford raised
his family in this home, ran a restaurant and some mines. He was also a vital
voice in state civil rights negotiations.
“My parents bought this back in the ‘40s, and I lived here
when I was a little boy,” Robin said. Consider that in 1951, when he was born,
Breckenridge wasn’t yet a ski town. “I learned to ski over at Cooper Hill at
These fascinating facts and stories of the past are what
Robin seeks to immortalize, along with the visual interest of the Victorian-era
structures that date back to gold mining days.
“I have always believed in historic preservation,” he said.
“There’s something in just furthering things. I see it as a continuum.” That
continuum includes his son Rob, a civil engineer, who also contributes to the
family business. “We’re really fortunate,” Robin said.
“He does a lot of soil tests and retaining wall design,
foundation design and things like that.”
“I have always
believed in historic preservation, there’s something in just furthering things.
I see it as a continuum.”
Of his restoration work, he has a couple favorites. One is
the Breckenridge Sawmill Museum, completely reconstructed with all the original
equipment and open year-round. “You can’t have a community without a
sawmill,” he said. You couldn’t have a
saloon or a gambling house or a hotel. There were a lot of sawmills around here
because it took a lot of lumber.
“One of our tenants is YoYo Loco (a specialty toy store),”
he said. “He has a great shop. The kids love it and drag their parents in. He
can be successful with a small amount of square footage.”
With the change from mining town to ski town, Robin watched
Breckenridge grow from a seasonal to a year-round destination.
“Breckenridge is just the place I want to be,”
he said. “It gets better all the time.”