Researching a historic home — whether it’s one you own currently, or one you’re interested in for other reasons, can be fun and also frustrating. If you’re looking to do some research into an old home, here are our top tips for getting started:
- Check to see if the home is on the National Register of Historic Places.
- Records at the Mesa County Assessor’s office can tell you many things about the property, and may help you learn when the home was built, who has previously owned it, and many other details. A title search may also be necessary. Sometimes you can figure out the date a home was built based on documentation from the Assessor’s office.
- Look at Census data. Note that federal censuses were conducted every 10 years. Sadly, most of the census records for 1890 burned, but the rest can be a great resource.
- Search the collections of the Museums of Western Colorado
Searching for information is not necessarily straightforward, however. Photos of homes in museum collections don’t always come in with thorough information, so you’ll need to approach your search from a few different directions.
If you have any of the following information, try these searches:
- the name of the street it was on (simplified as much as possible, so start with Pitkin instead of Pitkin Avenue)
- the house number
- the name of someone who owned it (start with just the last name — if there are alternate possible spellings, try those too)
If you have none of those things, you can search
“house” OR “home”
and browse through the images.
Do note that photos of home (or business) interiors are quite rare in most museum collections for a variety of reasons. You may find luck searching using the term “interior” if you don’t see what you’re after from your other searches. But there’s a very strong chance we have no photos of the interior of the home you’re researching, even if we do have photos of the exterior.
And, if you find the home you’re looking for in our collection, but the address isn’t on the database record, please share the address and the object id number with us, so we can update our records! Contact us
Good luck as you research a historic home!