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

 

Donate to CPI

We hope you will extend your appreciation for Colorado's past into an investment in its future by making a tax-deductible gift today.

Featured Project

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".

Join our Email List