Project Update

Commodore Mine Achieves National Register Listing

Bachelor-Commodore Mine Complex, photo courtesy of Clerestory Preservation

Colorado Preservation, Inc. designated Bachelor-Commodore Mine Complex, a historic mining district, located outside of Creede in Mineral County, as a Colorado Most Endangered Place in 2006, citing “Natural Elements” as the main threat to the site. Encompassing nearly 30 acres of valley floor and adjacent steep mountain slopes of West Willow Creek Canyon, Bachelor-Commodore Mine Complex long stands as one of Colorado’s most scenic and photographed mining sites and is a regional icon. Its history and significance relate to the early silver bonanzas of the 1890s in the area which continued into base metal extraction during World War II. The mine finally closed in 1976 and in 2008–10 underwent several Environmental Protection Agency surveys, assessments, and cleanup efforts.

After 15 years, we are excited to report that this multifaceted and rich site is listed in National Register of Historic Places! This designation was no small feat, as the mine’s historic district is large, complex, and varied. Consisting of approximately 40 contributing and non-contributing resources, it is recognized as one encompassing contributing site, as it displays hardrock tunnel mine features having high levels of integrity and represent the period of significance from 1891–1971.

Bachelor-Commodore Mine Complex, photo courtesy of Clerestory Preservation

Thanks to the efforts and support of the private owner, Ty Poxson, the regional Environmental Protection Agency, in partnership with Mineral County, Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety, and others including past researcher Mountain States Historical and Clerestory Preservation, who compiled and wrote the recent nomination. Bachelor-Commodore Mine passed the first preservation test and is officially designated as a historic site. The next steps entail negotiating the complicated ownership of the mining parcels so Mineral County can become future stewards of the district. The goal is to stabilize, preserve, and restore the mine structures to make them safe for greater public access, including heritage and educational tours.

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Hereford School

Open House at Historic Hereford School

Hereford School, circa 1940s

You are invited to an open house and housewarming party at the historic Hereford School in the tiny town of Hereford on the northeastern plains near the Wyoming border on Sat., Oct. 9, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hereford School is owned by fine arts consultant and long-time historic preservation supporter Elizabeth Schlosser, who nominated the property to Colorado’s Most Endangered Places in 2020. Although the school was not listed after the highly competitive nomination process, it is a unique and one-of-a-kind school building with an exciting history deserving of preservation.

Hereford School is not just another abandoned eastern plains schoolhouse but was the centerpiece of a Utopian inspired ensemble of three architect-designed buildings influenced by the work of Frank Lloyd Wright. The school’s township was purchased by Frederick Findeisen of Chicago in 1925, platted as part of a colony with three primary buildings designed in the prairie school style by architect John van Bergen, including a Community Center, Hereford Inn, and Hereford School. The Inn is a single-family home, and the Community Center is abandoned and threatened with demolition. The overall site is relatively undisturbed and intact. The owner converted part of the school building to a residence and photography studio about 20 years ago. The site has much potential as an educational, environmental, and historical site near Pawnee National Grasslands.

The building is located at 67300 Circle Drive. For information about the open house, contact schlosserfineart@comcast.net.

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Project Update: Historic Bridges of Colorado

Review of Historic Bridges of Colorado Underway

Rabbit Valley, Mesa County, photo courtesy of Kevin Strong, CBS4

Colorado Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) statewide nomination of Historic Bridges of Colorado led to Colorado Preservation, Inc. successfully listing this group of bridges on Colorado’s Most Endangered Places in early 2021.

WPA bridge sign close-up, photo courtesy of Kevin Strong, CBS4

The Endangered Places designation is the first step in the review process that will culminate in up to 20 high-priority historic bridges selected by CDOT for possible preservation. The 46 “on-system” (CDOT owned and located on State or Federal highway) bridges under review range in construction date from 1888 to 1973, and span the breadth of Colorado’s bridge development, evolving from early timber structures and steel bridges to the use of more standardized designs using pre-stressed concrete. During Phase I of the project, before Colorado’s Most Endangered Places listing, 132 National Register Listed and Eligible bridges were initially reviewed to set the stage for the current Phase II effort.

Steel truss looking up, photo courtesy of Kevin Strong, CBS4

More than 30 CDOT staff is carrying out the review, with Colorado Preservation, Inc. and State Historic Preservation Office assistance, and Mead & Hunt consultants facilitating. The effort involves substantial assessment by both CDOT historians and engineers to ensure that a representative geographical and stylistic subset of bridges for possible preservation is developed, and that CDOT can feasibly rehabilitate the bridges in question. The goal is to heighten awareness about the significance of these historic bridges and their contributions to our state’s heritage, along with developing partnerships with local communities and other organizations for funding and support for bridge preservation.

For information, contact Lisa Schoch at CDOT or Kim Grant at Colorado Preservation, Inc.

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Project Update: Como Depot

Progress Continues with Laying of Track at Como Depot

Laying track at Como Depot, photo courtesy of Como Depot and Roundhouse

The remarkable and steady progress in historic preservation in the tiny town of Como in Park County continues with the recent laying of additional railroad track at Como Depot. Colorado Preservation, Inc. listed the Depot on Colorado’s Most Endangered Places in 2006 and it was dedicated and declared a “save” in 2015.

Colorado pioneer George Lechner acquired Stubbs Ranch, created in 1859 to serve the needs of nearby prospectors in the Tarryall and Hamilton gold camps. Dan McLaughlin later discovered coal near the entrance of Camp Como. These developments helped trigger Denver South Park & Pacific Railroad (DSP&P) arrival in 1879. The influx of Italian coal miners spurred naming the settlement “Como” after Lake Como in Italy. In time, Gilman Hotel was developed and attached to the depot, but the depot later moved a few yards to the south as a stand-alone structure. The town flourished for decades before the closing of rail service in 1937.

Since then, the community restored the remarkable Como Roundhouse, Depot, and Hotel, along with renovating many small houses in the area. Things picked up in August 2021 during railroad days when Denver South Park & Pacific Historical Society fired up Engine #4 and took visitors on a short round-trip run from the depot to the turntable. The new track is an extension of this excursion line. These efforts result from a partnership between David Tompkins (owner of the Depot and Hotel), Dr. Charles Brantigan (who bought the locomotive), Bill and Hazel Kazel, South Park Rail Society, and Denver South Park & Pacific Historical Society. Thanks to many volunteers throughout the summer and fall dedicating time to the restoration efforts at Como Roundhouse and Depot.

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Project Update: Temple Aaron

Turn up the Heat Boiler Campaign Mounted for Temple Aaron

While August 2020 may be historically hot here in Colorado, Temple Aaron – listed as one of Colorado’s Most Endangered Places by Colorado Preservation, Inc. in 2017 – is thinking even warmer thoughts by launching its Turn Up the Heat campaign to replace the ancient boiler that quit several years ago. Thanks to many generous donors, the Temple board of directors made major progress in raising the $60,000 estimated cost of boiler replacement in the unique, historically significant building that overlooks downtown Trinidad. The effort started with a challenge from Denver businessman and philanthropist Larry A. Mizel, who pledged to provide the final 20 percent of the goal needed if the Temple board could procure the other 80 percent. Major gifts from Evan Makovsky and friends who recently visited the Temple, and from Les Limon of Twin Enviro Services of Trinidad helped raise more than 50 percent of the goal needed.

Returning heat to the building is key to ensuring year-round services and programming continue fostering a future for Temple Aaron. An inaugural membership campaign is also underway, with several new members signing up at the Lifetime Membership level of $1,800. Temple Aaron welcomes gifts of any size to continue building strong community support for the future. As board member Sherry Glickman Knecht stressed, “Time is our newest challenge—to warm the heart, soul, and bones of our great Temple for this coming winter, we are seeking to raise the remaining $30,000 within the next 30 days! Let’s not let her get cold again … Let’s Turn Up The Heat!”

Temple Aaron will host an open house for interested members of the public, as part of the Trails to Trinidad event benefitting Fisher’s Peak State Park, and the 1908 Fox West Theatre, 10 a.m.–1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 26. Admission is $10 at the door with bagels and lox, and conversation provided. For information about the Trails to Trinidad event, go to FoxWestTheatre.com. For information about the Temple boiler campaign, membership, or the open house, visit templeaaron.org or email info@templeaaron.org.

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Project Update: Saguache Hotel

Owner Putting Sweat Equity into Saguache Hotel

Saguache Hotel, courtesy of Colorado Preservation, Inc.

Colorado Preservation, Inc.’s Preservation Services Director Jane Daniels visited Saguache Hotel in June 2021 to check in on the progress of the new private owner, Andy Hackbarth, as he works tirelessly with his father and other community members bringing this important downtown landmark back to life. Colorado Preservation, Inc. also partnered with Andy to obtain State Historical Fund grant funds in 2020 to rehabilitate the roof, along with helping guide the project in the process of historic preservation, including tax credits, low-interest loans, Secretary of Interior’s Standards, and other funding opportunities.

Onsite at Saguache Hotel, courtesy of Colorado Preservation, Inc.

Considering what the building looked like when Andy acquired it, the Hotel is in much better condition. He and his dad, Charlie, are putting some serious sweat equity into the building. They hopefully will see their efforts further rewarded as they realize their vision for the building as a music venue, a revived hotel, and an eating establishment that will enliven the social and cultural activity in downtown Saguache.

For more information on this Colorado Preservation, Inc. projects and others, contact Jane Daniels, director of preservation services, at jdaniels@coloradopreservation.org.

Read the March 2021 project update.

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Project Update: Wagon Wheel Gap Fluorspar Mine and Mill

Impressive Stabilization Progress at 4UR Mill

Onsite at Wagon Wheel Gap Fluorspar Mine and Mill, courtesy of Colorado Preservation, Inc.

Wagon Wheel Gap Fluorspar Mine and Mill, known as the 4UR Mill, received State Historic Fund (SHF) grant funds in spring 2020 to stabilize the most critical and severely deteriorated features of the Mill. Work began on the site in spring 2021. Colorado Preservation, Inc.’s Preservation Services Director Jane Daniels visited the Mill, located outside of Creede, Colorado, late June to check out the progress, which was quite impressive. Harrison Western, the general contractor, made significant advancement stabilizing the internal columns and preparing the Mill’s main high roof for enclosure. They will take a brief pause this summer not to disturb operations at the 4UR Resort, and will resume work in October. Thank you to Harrison Western, the 4UR Ranch, Form+Works Design, and the SHF for an outstanding job so far!

For more information on this Colorado Preservation, Inc. project and others, contact Jane Daniels, director of preservation services, at jdaniels@coloraodpreservation.org.

Onsite at Wagon Wheel Gap Fluorspar Mine and Mill, courtesy of Colorado Preservation, Inc.
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Project Update July 2021: Dearfield

Dearfield Hosts Legislative Capital Development Committee

On site in Dearfield, courtesy of Colorado Preservation, Inc.

Black American West Museum and Greeley-based Dearfield Committee hosted representatives of the State Legislative Capital Development Committee for a presentation and tour about the Dearfield Dream Project on Wednesday, July 21, at the Dearfield site. Weld County Commissioner Lori Saine helped organize the event, which featured presentations and a tour of Dearfield African American Farming Colony by long-time Dearfield advocates Dr. Bob Brunswig and Dr. George Junne of University of Northern Colorado (UNC). Both Daphne Rice-Allen and Denise Leadon spoke on behalf of Black American West Museum, owners of the Dearfield townsite. Participants enjoyed the event, including other Weld County commissioners, UNC President Andy Feinstein, and representatives of History Colorado and Colorado Preservation, Inc. (CPI). CBS4 was on hand providing coverage of the event, as can be viewed in its story The Fight to Save a Colorado Ghost Town: Dearfield is Steeped in Black History.

Colorado Preservation, Inc. listed Dearfield on Colorado’s Most Endangered Places in 1999 and has worked with the many partners since then on preservation of the site.

On site in Dearfield, courtesy of Colorado Preservation, Inc.

The visit followed an earlier presentation by Bob Brunswig and George Junne to the Capital Development Committee at the Statehouse in late June. The purpose of that presentation and last week’s visit, which included members of the Legislative Black Caucus and featured Sen. James Coleman, was to explore the possibility of a legislative appropriation to support Dearfield preservation efforts. Private sector contributions greatly aided these efforts, including $15,000 from PDC Energy and $7,500 from Occidental Petroleum.

The Dearfield Dream Project is a multi-organizational research and historic sites preservation program. The work builds on earlier steps by Black American West Museum and scholars from the City of Greeley Museums, University of Northern Colorado, University of Colorado-Boulder, Colorado State University, and grant-funded private historical resource consultants, including participation by History Colorado and CPI. The project seeks to preserve the Dearfield townsite as a vital Colorado and national historical resource, increasing recognition of Dearfield’s contribution to African American settlement and economic self-sufficiency, civil rights, and social justice efforts. Dearfield was an unincorporated town in Weld County, Colorado, from 1910 through the late 1930s, founded in 1910 by Oliver Toussaint Jackson, an African American businessman and entrepreneur who purchased and homesteaded land used for the establishment of the townsite.

July 28, 2021 update
Excellent news. National Park Service’s African American Civil Rights Grant Program awarded University of Northern Colorado’s Dr. Brunswig and Dr. Junne a grant of nearly $500,000 for the next phase of preservation efforts for Dearfield buildings. Congratulations!

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Apple Trees for Golden History Museum

MORP Donates Heirloom Orchard Trees to Golden History Museum

Montezuma Orchard Restoration Project’s warehouse of trees ready for Golden History Museum and Park

Montezuma Orchard Restoration Project (MORP), which grew from the fruits of efforts to save the historic Gold Medal Orchard (listed on Colorado’s Most Endangered Places in 2015 and declared a “Save” in 2021) recently donated apple trees that were historically grown in the Golden area to Golden History Museum and Park. The trees will plant in the fall, adding to and making up Golden Heritage Apple Orchard at Golden History Park. As noted by MORP co-director Addie Schuenemeyer, “We selected varieties that were historically grown in Golden. MORP is able to donate heritage apple trees to community spaces that can care for them thanks to support from the USDA, Colorado Department of Agriculture, Colorado Garden Foundation and others.” The museum plans to add tree signage acknowledging the work of MORP to preserve Colorado’s fruit growing heritage. Former Colorado Preservation, Inc. (CPI) employee Cindy Nasky and her husband Mark helped Golden History Museum Director Nathan Richie and Board President Michael Wood make the connection to MORP and CPI and to spread the word about the project.

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Dearfield Conference

Save the Date! 7th Dearfield Conference Program on May 22

Since 2008, several partners – Dearfield Heritage Preservation Committee, Black American West Museum & Heritage Center, University of Northern Colorado (UNC), Colorado State University (CSU), Colorado Preservation, Inc., City of Greeley and Weld County Youth Conservation Corps – collaborated in a wide range of archaeological and historic research programs and historic building preservation efforts involving the early 20th century African-American farming colony of Dearfield, along with the two historic town-sites of Dearfield and Chapelton, in eastern Weld County, Colorado. Colorado Preservation, Inc. recognized Dearfield Colony on Colorado’s Most Endangered Places in 1999.

The seventh Dearfield Conference hosted by UNC takes place Saturday, May 22, 2021, 10 a.m.–3:30 p.m. and is open to the public. The conference features presentations and open discussion forums on recent Dearfield preservation and research programs, including archaeological fieldwork in June 2020, university and community engagement activities for students, professional scholarly research and collaboration, along with planning efforts related to the Dearfield Strategic Plan 2021.

Following Covid-19 precautions, this year’s conference will be a hybrid affair, with a small core participant group attending the physical meeting at UNC’s Michener Library, along with an online participant venue. A showing of filmmaker Charles Nuckholl’s Remnants of a Dream: Dearfield and the Story of its Founder O.T. Jackson will occur both before and after the conference via an online link. For more information about the conference, contact Dr. Bob Brunswig at robert.brunswig@unco.edu or Dr. George Junne at Ghjunne@aol.com.

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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".

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