Chimney Rock

Year Listed: 2008
County: ArchuletaCounty
Construction Date: 1076-1125 A.D.
Threat When Listed: Natural Elements
Status: SAVE-2012
 
 

In southwestern Colorado stands the “Ultimate Outlier”, one of the most remarkable examples of the Chacoan culture’s organizational structure. Chaco Canyon served as the ceremonial center for more than 200 independent communities linked by economic, political and religious ideals, the furthest of which was the Chimney Rock site. At an elevation of 7,600ft this extremely remote site – l,000 feet above arable land and water – stands as a testament to the design, planning and craftsmanship of the Ancient Puebloans. Abandoned since 1125 A.D., the site retains the authenticity and integrity immediately recognizable as an Ancestral Puebloan site.

When the site was listed on Colorado Preservation, Inc’s Most Endangered Places hundreds of years of exposure to the elements had taken their toll on the irreplaceable structures at Chimney Rock. Most of the serious structural problems at the Great House, Great Kiva and the Ravine Site Habitation Complex were due to natural weathering and climate changes. Unusually heavy monsoon rains in 2006 saturated soils, causing several walls to collapse and while emergency stabilization was completed, there was still an overwhelming amount of work that remained to be accomplished.

 

On September 21, 2012 President Barack Obama designated Chimney Rock as a U.S. National Monument, a move that has helped preserve 4,726 acres in southwestern Colorado. This designation will not only be forward momentum towards the future preservation of the site, but will provide a boost for the region by driving tourism.

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Preservation for a Changing Colorado

The 2017 update, Preservation for a Changing Colorado, resulted from a partnership between Colorado Preservation and History Colorado and Colorado Preservation, Inc. Prepared by Clarion Associates, the new report and accompanying website document the economic benefits of rehabilitation projects, analyzes property values and neighborhood stability in local historic districts, and summarizes the increasing impact of heritage tourism, private preservation development and the success of Colorado’s Main Street program. In a key finding, researchers found that for every $1 million spent on historic preservation in Colorado leads to $1.03 million in additional spending, 14 new jobs, and $636,700 in increased household incomes across the state! The 2017 report also considers the important role preservation plays in helping Coloradans provide new spaces for creative communities and co-working, create and sustain meaningful places, respond to the state’s changing demographics, and address climate concerns. Click Here to see the full report, "Preservation for a Changing Colorado".