Fourth Street Commercial District – Downtown Saguache

Year Listed: 2009
County: Saguache County
Construction Date: Various – 1874-1940
Threat When Listed: Demolition by Neglect – Vacant
Status: IN PROGRESS

 

Several of the buildings that anchor the 4th Street Business District date to the town’s incorporation date of 1874. Serving as the trade and business center for much of the historic San Luis Valley, Saguache represents both in history and in architectural detail an example of an early Colorado frontier town. The building stock of this district includes two banks, a newspaper office which operates the last “hot metal press” in Colorado, a hotel, two mercantiles, a mercantile warehouse, a saloon, a theater, and the County Courthouse. A striking feature of these buildings is the variety of architectural styles that are used, including Italianate, Classical Revival, Nineteenth Century Commercial, and Twentieth Century Commercial influences.

Due to a slow continual economic decline, some of these businesses have had to board up many of the rooms and floors in the buildings that they occupy. In addition, a handful of the buildings have been abandoned, neglected and have begun to decay. There are severe structural issues with many of the sites including facades that are crumbling, brickwork that is falling off, and windows that are broken or damaged. Additionally, several of the “Main Street” businesses have been converted into residences, further threatening the economic development aspects of the 4th Street Business District. Saguache is the poorest county in Colorado, and for many years now there have been only a handful of viable businesses on 4th Street.

Colorado Preservation, Inc. has been working closely with the Saguache County Sustainable Environment and Economic Development (ScSEED) Board in order to complete an architectural inventory survey that will be utilized to determine National Register eligibility for downtown Saguache. Additionally, the Ute Theater, which was shuttered in 2005, reopened in June after new owners completed substantial renovation work that included ADA compliance while retaining historic features such as the straw-stuffed seats and a 1947 Manley popcorn machine.  In 2012, additional survey forms for the town were completed, including identifying several buildings that were omitted in the previous survey.  A National Register of Historic Places District nomination for 4th Street was prepared and the Saguache Downtown Historic District was listed in July 2014.

The site has seen considerable improvement since it was listed in 2009.  The town recently acquired the Dunn Block building. The site needs a preservation-minded buyer for the historic hotel and opening of the Elks Hall.


Additional Links:

Follow Save our Saguache Facebook Page
Saguache Walking Tour
Saguache County Economic Development

Donate to CPI

We hope you will extend your appreciation for Colorado's heritage by helping us take advantage of this $1 to $1 matching campaign. Learn more about our matching campaign and make your tax-deductible donation today!

Matching Campaign

Thank you to our donors for this matching campaign!
 

 

Hannah Braun

Laurel Campbell

Nore Winter

Peter Grosshuesch

Matt Goebel

Andy Duckett-Emke

Kelly and Peter Merrion

Blair and Chris Miller

Keith and Carmen Willy

Mike and Anne Coughlin

Steven Turner and  Steven Kick

T. Drew Notestine

Anonymous

Elaine Freed

Megan Concannon

Nicole Hernandez

Ron and Linde Thompson

Dan Corson

Lucas Schneider

Jon Nathan Schler

Jane and Phil Watkins

Ariel Steele 

Kimberly Kintz

Lisa A. Stegman

Graham Johnson

James and Joan Kroll

James Hewat

JoVonne P. Fitzgerald

Jennifer Wahlers

Stephen Blitz

Arianthé Stettner

Ann Mullins

R. Michael Bell

Nan and Dave Anderson

Patrick Eidman

Beverly Rich

Jane Daniels

Kaaren Hardy

Cynthia Pond

Rheba Massey

Katherine Woods and Christopher Koziol

Dave Lively

Paul O’Rourke

Lisa May

Sally Hopper

Ann Alexander Walker

Julie Johnson

Anonymous

Judith W. Amico

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".