Plans call for speeches, music, dancing and cake during the May 22 ceremonies honoring Douglas Cohn as Englewood 2017 Citizen of the Year.
The event will be held at 6 p.m. at the Malley Senior Recreation Center, 3380 S. Lincoln St., and the Malley Swing Band will provide music for dancing after the ceremony.
In the past, the city council nominated and selected the citizen of the year. This year is the first time residents were asked to submit nominations, which council reviewed. The council announced Cohn's selection at the March 20 council meeting.
Doug Cohn was born at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Denver in May 1947 and the family moved to Englewood in 1951. He attended Englewood schools and graduated from Englewood High School in 1965, then earned a bachelor’s degree in American history with a minor in education from the University of Colorado-Boulder.
A Billy Graham crusade inspired him to enter the Conservative Baptist Theological Seminary, from which he earned a Master of Divinity in 1972. "For the next eight years," he said, "I did missionary work with young people living on the street in Denver, which included opening a halfway house called the Carpenter’s House.”
When the Carpenter’s House closed in 1978, he entered the family business, Bonnie Brae Hobby Shop on South University Boulevard. The shop was moved to 3421 S. Broadway in Englewood in 1999 and closed for good in 2015.
Cohn is probably best known as the Englewood history guy.
“I have always loved history of our country, our state, and I really became interested in the history of Englewood about five years ago when the issue of the sale of the train station came up,” he said. “Before that meeting I didn’t even know there was an Englewood train depot.
"I went to the meeting to try to prevent the sale of the station and, by the time that meeting was over, the guy rescinded his offer," Cohn recalled. "After the council meeting, all of those who spoke against the sale met and decided we ought to start an organization to buy the train depot and make it into a museum like the original Englewood Historic Society proposed."
The original society that had proposed the museum plans had ceased to exist in 2002, Cohn said, but a new group, the Englewood Historic Preservation Society, was founded in 2012. The citizen effort to block the city's sale of the depot came to naught in 2013, but the Englewood Historic Preservation Society continues its work, including frequent history presentations at the Englewood Public Library and the Brew on Broadway.
Cohn joined other society members as strong advocates in the successful effort to have the city create a new Englewood Historic Preservation Commission. The commission was officially established May 15 and has office space in the Englewood Public Library.