Lauren Weatherly moved from Boulder to the suburbs of Northglenn, Colorado and became curious about her new home and the neighborhood that surrounds it. Every midcentury neighborhood has a history to be uncovered, so Lauren dedicated herself to finding out more about the mystery of Deza Estates. The home and its midcentury vibe is what initially drew her to the neighborhood. As a teacher, Lauren has always had a passion for learning, and she decided to take on her own discovery project. She says, “I’ve always been interested in history and just wanted to know more about the neighborhood.”
Discovering Deza Estates
Her passion to get involved in her community fueled her curiosity to meet new people and learn more about her neighborhood. Two years ago she joined the Northglenn Historic Preservation Commission, which really kickstarted her research. Through the people she met at the commission, she was able to learn more about the community and the people who made it what it is today. Her involvement “set off a ripple effect to connect with other people that are interested,” she says.
After asking around, Lauren connected with a lot of the people that were willing to share their memories. “I have been able to connect with a lot of the people that were children in the neighborhood. It’s been amazing to hear their stories,” she says. Lauren says that she still has a list of people that have reached out that want to share their lives with her. “Every single person I talk to opens more doors,” she says.
When Lauren started she didn’t have any specific type of research experience. She had a mind full of curiosity and a community on her side, which led her on a journey to learn more about her new hometown. Although she has yet to unearth the mystery of who built the neighborhood, she has learned a lot about the vision for the neighborhood and how people in the community lived when the city was first built. From swimming in the neighbor’s pool, to chasing ponies through the street, to going to a one-room schoolhouse, the stories about the Northglenn neighborhood are always unique. With the help of fellow researcher, Atom Stevens, and the people of Northglenn, Lauren has been able to collect story after story to create a history for her home and its neighborhood.
Researching Your Own Home
You don’t have to be an experienced researcher to find the information you’re looking for. You can learn a lot by just knocking on your neighbor’s door. Lauren followed a few different paths that led her to where she is now. Although, sometimes she feels as if this is a never-ending process, it always excites her to learn something new about her town.
Here are a few ways you can find out more about your midcentury neighborhood:
1. Get involved in your community. A lot of the information that Lauren has received has been from people that she connected with in groups and committees. “We don’t capitalize on opportunities to be connected with our local communities,” she says. Use your passion for learning, as a way to meet knew people. Every person you talk to will open another door for you to walk through. Historic commissions and volunteer groups are a great way to meet people who have similar curiosities about the history of the town.
2. Ask around in as many different ways as possible. “The more I put the word out that I was interested, the more people would come to me,” Lauren says. Social media and the Internet are always great ways to spread the word about something you’re interested in. Let people know that you’re looking for information, and more often than not, people will jump at the opportunity to share their story with you. Put a blurb in your local newspaper or pass out flyers in your neighborhood. Just spread the word that you’re curious.
3. Dig through county records. This doesn’t always sound like the most fun option, but county records can provide a starting point to any research project. Of course, the record process and amount of information will vary for every area. Check in with the clerk and recorders office to see if they have what you’re looking for. There are also people that work in those offices that can show you how to do that type of digging. Lauren says, “You find a lot of things that probably don’t matter, but you also find a lot of things that do.”
4. “Just be curious and let your curiosity drive you.” Don’t give up. Keep asking people about the mystery of your home and its neighborhood. Eventually you will have enough information to build the narrative that you’ve been waiting for. The MCM fans that follow in your footsteps will applaud your dedication and your story can inspire others to do the same.
If you’re curious about Lauren’s journey or you have information to share with her, you can contact her at Lauren.firstname.lastname@example.org.