Steve Turner accepting his award at the Colorado Preservation, Inc. celebration.

Steve Turner Receives the 2024 Dana Crawford Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation

June 3, 2024

Colorado Preservation, Inc’s 34th annual Dana Crawford & Alpine Bank State Honor Awards was held at the Denver Botanic Gardens on May 20, 2024. This year’s celebration honored Steve Turner, 2024 Dana Crawford Award Recipient. The evening provided ample opportunities to mix and mingle, raise funds to support CPI, and recognize individuals, organizations, public agencies, and businesses whose work demonstrates excellence in historic preservation.

Turner began his career at the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation. An opportunity to work for the National Park Service engaged him in projects at prestigious parks including Yellowstone, Mesa Verde, and others. Eventually, he made his way to Denver where he has worked for the City of Denver, Historic Denver, and History Colorado where he served as Executive Director as well as the Colorado State Historic Preservation Officer. Currently, Turner is the director of the Dana Crawford Preservation Program at CU Denver where he mentors and inspires students pursuing a Master of Science in Historic Preservation.

Accepting his award, Turner noted that his job with the National Park Service was the result of a mistake, having applied inadvertently to the wrong job posting. Noting that the hiring manager recognized his potential, Turner expressed gratitude for that lucky break and the many years of opportunities that have followed.  

He also acknowledged the “three godmothers of preservation”—Dana Crawford, Barb Pahl, and Ann Walker—women he credits with mentoring, guiding, and lifting him up throughout his career. Humorously, Turner joked that these aren’t godmothers of the Disney variety but rather godmothers of the “I’m going to make you a deal that you can’t refuse” variety. He further explained that he was always just smart enough to listen and ask what needed to be done to accomplish their goals of preserving Colorado’s historic buildings and honoring their stories and legacy. 

In closing, Turner spoke of his confidence in the future of preservation because the next generation of preservationists is already establishing themselves as leaders in the field. If you are interested in exploring a career in historic preservation or supporting the program, contact Steve Turner.