Downtown Historic District


The City of Brighton has long been recognized for its agricultural contributions to the state of Colorado, for its rich soil, and for its high yielding crops. However, Downtown Brighton is the heart of the city and for more than one hundred years it has linked town and country together by providing citizens with a trade and commerce district. Rich with built heritage, the collection of historic buildings downtown connects residents, business owners, and visitors to the history of Brighton while providing an exciting place to live and work. Preserving these resources is vital to set the stage for a dynamic future for the City of Brighton.

The downtown area features a variety of nineteenth-century building types and architectural styles including Italianate one and two-story commercial blocks, single storefronts, and double storefronts with uses that incorporate retail and residential uses.  The significance of the buildings tells the stories of Brighton’s history using architectural styles and details that demonstrate how architecture and culture have changed since its early inception.  Preserving Brighton’s built heritage while providing opportunities to incorporate new life into the downtown area will promote investment, a walkable district, and the potential for higher densities. 

Period of Significance

Based on the historic context of the area proposed to make up the Downtown Historic District, the period of significance for the district is 1880-1945. Two types of architectural styles are prominent in the commercial downtown area: “one-part commercial blocks” or “two-part commercial blocks.” Both building types originated in the 19th century and generally exhibit an Italianate style. However, many buildings from this era feature various styles not related to Italianate. The one-part commercial block can exhibit several types of facades including a single storefront building with one entrance; a double storefront with two or more entrances; a corner building with a diagonal entrance and an entrance on each side. The façade generally features a recessed entrance, large display windows with kick plates; and window and door transoms. The roof is generally flat and the roofline typically features one or more of these elements: ornate cornices, brackets, or decorative panels.

What does this mean for me?

For those who own buildings either within the Downtown Historic District or own a building that is individually designated (like the Brighton Train Depot or the 1886 Church) it just means that: prior to submitting a land development application or receiving a permit for construction, reconstruction, remodeling, alteration, repair, restoration, rehabilitation, relocation or demolition of improvements on such cultural resource, property or other exterior physical feature on a designated historic cultural resource, historic landmark or within a historic district, the applicant shall obtain a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) from the Historic Preservation Commission for the proposed work. 

How do I apply for a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA)?

You will have to fill out an application through our online portal, IDT. Here is the link to the IDT service which is how Brighton processes COAs:

 Additionally, here is a website link to one of our city pages that talks about IDT a little more, just if you haven’t filled out an application via IDT yet or if you were interested in learning more:

Once you make a login and sign in, you will see it request and “­­­Application Type” and there you will choose the “Historic Preservation Certificate of Appropriateness” category from the drop-down.