Durango Power House

Year Listed: 2001
County: La Plata County
Construction Date: 1893
Threat When Listed: Demolition 
Status: SAVE-2011

In 1893, the Durango Light and Power Company proudly opened its Power House, providing modern A/C power to Durango long before the cities of New York or Chicaogo.  The building boaseted cutting-edge Spanish Mission architecture, the first of its kind in Colorado.  When listed on the Endangered Places list, the plant sat abandoned, considered an “eyesore” along the Animas River in the herat of Durango.  Today, the building is Saved! on the National Register of Historic Places being the oldest known A/C power plant remaining in the nation.

Concerned the building would be torn down, a group of citizens set out to rescue the Powerhouse, forming the Durango Discovery Museum to make public its important tale.  City Council voted to give the museum a chance instead of demolishing it.  Local professionals teamed together to design the museum, while state and federal agencies, the City of Durango, individuals, and local corporations proided needed funds.  The Children’s Museum of Durango reached an agreement with the City of Durango to lease the building. The partnership lead to renovation and created the Children’s Discover Center.  State Historical Fund grants were administered to stabilize the exterior and further assistance was provided by the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program.

In 2002, the Durango City Council passed a resolution supporting the use of the powerhouse as the Durango Discovery Museum.  Durango Discovery Museum volunteers  obtained grants for historical renovation, asbestos removal, and site cleanup from the State of Colorado. The cleanup, renovation, and restoration of the exterior of the building were completed in 2006.  The museum opened to the public in 2011.

Additional Links: 
Durango Discovery Museum


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Featured Project

4 Bar 4 Ranch

Homesteaded in 1895 by Dick McQueary to provide a stop for the Georgetown Stage Line, the 320-acre 4 Bar 4 Ranch has strong ties to Grand County and Colorado's heritage. The Georgetown Stage Line traveled on the road through the 4 Bar 4 Ranch from Idaho Springs to Hot Sulphur Springs over Berthoud Pass. In 1895 a roadhouse and stage stop were constructed on the ranch. The hotel and barn were constructed using trees from the Ranch property, and the hotel remained open for travelers coming over Berthoud Pass by horseback and wagon until 1913. With the coming of the automobile, the roadway over Berthoud Pass and through the 4 Bar 4 Ranch was considered an integral part of the Trans-Continental “Midland Trail” highway. Following the closing of the stage line, the ranch continued to host travelers until 1912 or 1913 when it was purchased and converted into a Ford Motor Company . Ford vehicles were sold here until 1917, when Harry Larkin purchased the ranch site. Today emergency efforts are underway to ensure it survives through the winter. Donations are in need. To learn more, contact Jennifer Orrigo Charles at jorrigocharlges@coloradopreservation.org.

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