DONALD W. KOCH PAPERS
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE
Donald Warner Koch’s papers range from his student days at Brandeis University in Massachusetts from 1960-1964 to the technical work he performed up until his death in the year 2000. After leaving the Colorado Land Use Commission in 1981, in self-employment, he sent proposals for technical projects throughout Colorado. The correspondence for each project is included from proposal to finished product.
Koch’s first major technical project was creating a shopping survey for the town of Thornton, Colorado. Later, he obtained contracts for land use studies in Huerfano and Lake Counties in Colorado. The latter two projects resulted in published works that he continually updated. Year after year, he continued to design land use plans and zoning regulations for Huerfano and Lake Counties. Developers who planned to build in Lake County, for example, had to send site plans to Koch and Associates for review and recommendations. This work continued until the last year of his life. The papers of these projects are included in the collection from the beginning to the end.
At the same time that Koch produced the major technical works of his professional career, he wrote nonfiction books and articles on topics of his own interest. As an author, Koch published three books. His first, Chilton’s Guide to Motorcycles and Motorcycling, was published in 1974. In 1980, the first edition of The Colorado Pass Book was published. Two further editions of this work were published in 1987 and in 2000. In 1982, he published An Endless Vista, a Colorado recreational book. The original research, notes, correspondence, rough drafts, and final product of each book are included in the collection.
Also included in the collection are research, rough drafts, and final copies of Koch’s articles about motorcycles, firearms, and other topics of interest to him. These articles were published in the Wall Street Journal, the Colorado Municipal League’s newsletters, The Rocky Mountain News, the National Council of State Legislatures’ newsletters, among other regional and national periodicals. An avid fan of films, Donald Koch wrote numerous movie reviews for newspapers and magazines. He saved a copy of each review and these papers are in the collection.
The collection contains papers for numerous projects and articles that were never published. Koch saved copies of even the most unsuccessful works and kept the papers that recorded the steps of his writing process, from research to rough draft to final copy. He also saved correspondence with businesses, including banks, governmental agencies, and local companies.
The development of an author and researcher is documented in this collection, from idea to research, from rough draft to publication. The detailed works of Koch may also provide a springboard for future research by others on Colorado topics such as a book or article on Colorado church buildings.
This series consists of major published technical projects and books arranged chronologically at the start of each project. The first book, Chilton’s Guide to Motorcycles and Motorcycling, begun in 1972, is followed by Koch’s first major technical project, Thornton Area Shopper Survey, begun in 1982. Two recreational Colorado books, The Colorado Pass Book and An Endless Vista, are followed by the major land use studies for Huerfano County and Lake County. The Huerfano County project extended from 1983 to 1999, and the Lake County project extended from 1986 to 1999. All of Donald Koch’s projects included preliminary research, correspondence, and analyses, as well as numerous drafts of each work. Some of the projects and books were published in several editions. All drafts, updates and photographs are included.
This series consists of one-time technical projects such as Environmental Review Record and Environmental Assessments: The Town of Calhan, Colorado, Water System Improvements, completed in 1986, and a study for Southdown Corporation on the impact of annexation to the town of Lyons, Colorado in 1993-1994. It also includes articles such as
Tire Care: A Practical Primer published in the April 1970 issue of Cycle World. Many book and film reviews appeared in newspapers and magazines. Notes, research, correspondence, and rough drafts of each project are included.
This series consists of unpublished articles, research, and project proposals arranged chronologically by the date of the earliest project. Business correspondence includes letters to banks, newspapers, local businesses, and so forth. Koch also corresponded with other professionals with similar interests. This series is arranged chronologically by the date of the first letter.
This series comprises oversize materials relating to Koch’s major projects and published books. Most of the oversize documents are by-products of the major land use projects. Included are drawings and site plans
This series comprises a brick from the Leadville Tabor Hotel that was loosened by the July 11, 1989 storm.
This series comprises an audiocassette of a presentation relating to a major project, two computer disks of personal correspondence, and a brick given to Koch by the City of Leadville. It was a brick from the Leadville Tabor Hotel that was loosened by the July 11, 1989 storm.
Photographs comprise this series. Some folders contain photographs used by Koch in his books. The bulk of the photographs consist of images of Colorado and mountain scenery with some photographs identified as near various Colorado mountain passes. A portion of the series includes photographs of Koch and his friends.
Mounted photograph for display fill the oversize box. The bulk of the images portray Colorado mountain scenery.
The collection is open for research.
The Donald W. Koch Papers are the physical property of The Denver Public Library.
All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from material in the collection should be discussed with the appropriate librarian or archivist. Permission for publication may be given on behalf of the Denver Public Library as the owner of the physical item. It is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained by the customer. The Library does not assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or publication rights of the manuscript held by the writer, heirs, donors, or executors. Reproduction restrictions are decided on a case-by-case basis.
Donald Warner Koch (1942-2000) was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Buffalo, New York. In 1964, he graduated with a bachelor's degree from Brandeis University in Massachusetts. From 1964-1966, he attended Princeton University, completing the coursework for a master of science degree in anthropology and sociology, but did not finish the requirements for the degree. Instead, he joined the VISTA Volunteers and moved to Anadarko, Oklahoma. There, he worked with prisoners at the local jails to improve living conditions and helped to set up local Head Start programs, among other projects. Transferred to Atchison, Kansas, in 1968, Koch worked in the VISTA program of the Northeast Kansas Community Action Program (NEK-CAP) on anti-poverty projects. In 1969, Koch spent a few months in Montana working on a VISTA program. Afterwards, he moved to Denver, Colorado, to work in the VOLT Technical Corporation VISTA program. He was promoted to Deputy Director in 1971, but the whole program terminated in that same year. He attended the University of Colorado, receiving a Master of Arts Degree in Urban and Regional Planning and Community Development in 1972.
Koch lived for a time in Wray, Colorado, in eastern Yuma County. He moved from there to Sterling, Colorado; then, finally, Denver again. In 1981, he purchased his own home at 621 Monroe Street, Denver, Colorado, where he lived until his death in 2000.
In 2000, Koch described himself as a "retired land use planner and planning consultant who has long pursued a second career as a writer." His planning career began in 1972, when he joined the staff of the Northeastern Colorado Council of Governments. By 1976, he was Deputy Director of this organization, but resigned to accept a Senior Planner position for the Colorado Office of Rural Development. Later he moved to the Colorado Land Use Commission where he remained until the state budget crisis in 1981 when his position was eliminated. Though he was offered another Colorado state job, he resigned and formed his own consulting firm, Koch and Associates, Ltd. The firm was primarily a one-man operation, though, occasionally, Donald Koch hired consultants and experts.
Koch's hobbies and personal interests were varied. He liked riding motorcycles and bicycles and driving four-wheel-drive vehicles. Hiking, camping, and exploring the Rocky Mountains occupied a large part of his leisure time. He enjoyed movies, guns, and doing historical research at the Denver Public Library and Colorado Historical Society. In the last year of his life, Koch became more interested in the history of Colorado, especially the history of its capital city, Denver. He corresponded with Dr. Tom Noel, attended his lectures, and edited Noel's Colorado Almanac manuscript.
Koch’s combination of technical expertise and story-telling ability resulted in significant contributions to Colorado.
4 oversize box(es)
5 oversize file folder(s)
1 audiovisual envelope(s)
3 photo box(es)
1 oversize photo box(es)
Language of Materials
Other Finding Aids
Donald W. Koch's lawyer, Marshall D. Brodsky, donated the collection to The Denver Public Library on February 28, 2001.
Number of Boxes: 11
AV Envelopes: 1
Oversize: 4 Boxes, 5 Folders
Number of PhotoBoxes: 3 (2.5 lf), 1 PhotoOVBox
REVISED AND ENCODED BY:
- Authors -- Colorado -- Denver. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Colorado -- Description and travel. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Land use -- Colorado -- Huerfano County. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Land use -- Colorado -- Lake County. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Motorcycling and motorcycles. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Mountain passes -- Colorado -- Guidebooks. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- DONALD W. KOCH PAPERS
- Language of description
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