Year Listed: 2014
County: Huerfano County
Construction Date: 1860
Threat When Listed: Demolition by Neglect
The Montoya Ranch in Huerfano County is an excellent example of Spanish Colonial and Territorial Adobe architecture. Potentially the only adobe basement building in the United States, the building housed different functions beginning in 1860 as a farmhouse. Between 1910 and 1930, an addition was added to accommodate a general store in the building. A jacal addition was added in the 1930s when the building was used as the local post office. In addition to the farmhouse, there are several dilapidated structures including a wooden sheep herder cabin, wooden corral, concrete cistern, concrete ice box, wood framed shack, two storage containers, and an original wood outhouse that has collapsed. The Ranch was used for sheep ranching, a rare industry for this part of Colorado. Remarkably several of the sheep pens are still extant on the property.
All of the buildings have suffered from neglect and are on the verge of collapse. The main farmhouse building is in danger of falling down, as the adobe walls have many cracks, are separated from each other, and in one instance, has collapsed completely. The roof and floor in the general store addition are in a state of partial collapse. Because of the Ranch’s importance to Colorado’s history, it is extremely vital that steps are taken immediately to stabilize and preserve the remaining building. Water infiltration has done extensive damage to the roof, walls, floors and foundation. Cracks, holes, and completely collapsed walls threaten the structure of the building.
Further evaluation of the adobe foundation wall is the critical first step. After that evaluation the framing of the building needs to be shored up and the envelope needs to be made weather tight. The building will be considered a save when the envelope has been secured to prevent the active deterioration of the structure.