Tax Credit Program Highlight: Harbert's Garage

Columbus, Colorado County



Listed in the National Register as part of the Colorado County Courthouse Historic District

Historic Use

Automobile garage/dealership

Current Use

Lease space

Date Certified

November 20, 2018


Also certified for Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credits.

Project Contact

Columbus Historical Preservation Trust; Janecka Construction


Harbert’s Garage was established as a traditional auto garage, which originally incorporated a variety of services including automobile sales, repairs, garage, and a filling station. The garage sits on the corner of Walnut and Bowie Streets, nestled in the center of the Colorado County Courthouse Historic District. The historic district is indicative of Columbus’ commercial success during the late nineteenth century with the arrival of the railroad and the booming cattle industry. Commercial and residential properties that sprang up around the courthouse city center reflect an array of late nineteenth century architecture, notably Greek Revival and Victorian, and continue to distinguish this historic district from the surrounding neighborhoods.

Rehabilitation Project

The property was previously vacant, and the current rehabilitation project focused on general improvements and repairs that would prepare the building for future use as a lease space. Careful work was done to repair the sculpted stucco exterior, and many lost historic features were recreated, including the tin ceiling and marquee lights for the front portico, as well as cast metal scuppers emblazoned with the letter “H.” One of the limitations of the original structure is that the large original garage space, comprising the majority of the footprint, was not insulated and had only a thin sheet metal roof. In addition to replacing the roof with new metal, the underside was insulated, and a layer of sheet metal installed below – this allowed the space to have greater climate control while retaining the industrial character of the garage and the visibility of the dramatic metal trusses.

Photo Gallery

Click on any image to view the photo gallery.

  • The former auto garage is characterized by a formal front elevation (see the Mission-style stucco facade), with the rear portion being much more utilitarian. It was important to continue with a simple metal roofing to replace the original, to avoid turning the building into something fancier that it never was.