Lyons Train Depot
The Lyons Historical Society was formed in 1973 to save the depot from being moved out of town, stone by stone. LaVern was a member, and a few years later became the president. The building became the community library until the Great Flood of 2013, when it was badly damaged by the flood waters. It was restored using historic preservation criteria and grant funds. A Library District was formed, and the funds raised helped build a new, much larger structure. The building currently houses Town Hall extension offices. (Christina Wells headed the project)
The Lyons Historical Society next turned its attention to the town’s schoolhouse built in 1881, under the instruction of Edward S. Lyon. It was going to be knocked down by a wrecking ball in the 1970s. After a few years of negotiation, the St. Vrain Valley School District agree to leave it standing if the Historical Society put a museum in it. A three-way lease was signed between the Town of Lyons, the School District, and the Historical Society.
In 2012, LaVern Johnson, president of the Historic Society, wrote grants to restore the exterior of the building. Total cost of restoration of the Museum came to $235,100: $93,272 – grant from State Historical Fund in 2006, and $54,148.00 grant in 2012 for project #2.
Due to inflation making the cost of materials rise, the completion of the project was unrealized, more funds had to be raised for Project #2. Total cost $235,100: $35,000 was donated by the School District and the Town, plus a State grant, and the rest $52,680 was raised by the Lyons Historical Society from fundraisers (craft fairs, garage sales, dues, and donations) Project was completed December 1, 2014.
Meadow Park Shelter
In 1934, a shelter house was built by the W.P.A. (part of the New Deal), with Tom Brodie as Foreman. It was used for picnics in Meadow Park. In 1997, it was restored by a Colorado Historical Society grant for $38,143. It was then demolished by the September 11, 2013 flood. The Chimney was the only part saved, and it serves as a memorial to the WPA members. A new and larger shelter, with open sides, replaces the old shelter. (The Town of Lyons lead the restoration project)
While not a “historic preservation project,” LaVern Johnson also participated heavily in the restoration of Meadow Park and Bohn Park after the Great Flood of 2013, which took several years, and several million dollars to complete.