Purgatoire River Region Survey

Surveying a homestead in Las Animas County

Cultural Resources in the Purgatoire River Region

With funds from Preserve America, the Department of Local Affairs, and the Colorado Historical Society’s State Historical Fund Colorado Preservation is initiating a project to survey historic sites in Otero and Las Animas Counties.  With most of the region divided into large ranches, there are many undocumented historic resources on private lands. With cooperation from local ranchers, we have a unique opportunity to identify and document these resources. Professionals will survey archaeological resources, historic buildings, and cultural landscapes on private ranch lands as well as the communities of Hoehne, Kim, Model, Timpas, and Branson. The survey will produce a historic context study, survey forms, and a survey report with historic preservation recommendations.

Approximately 500 historic sites have been identified during the reconnaissance-level survey. This spring the architectural and archaeological survey teams will together select resources from the reconnaissance survey to further evaluate at an intensive level. The selection of resources will depend on a variety of factors including physical integrity, significance of the resource, and possibility for heritage tourism use.  The current project also includes the preparation of a historic context study, which presents a thematic overview of the history of the area, identifying historic resource types associated with each identified theme. This study synthesizes primary and secondary source research on the development of the area with the results from the field survey. Themes identified in the historic context study include homesteading, community, education, transportation, farming, cattle ranching, sheep herding, cowboy culture, Hispanic settlement and culture, religion, and water.

Reconnaissance Survey:

  • A survey team composed of architectural historians and archaeologists will photograph and note the location of all resources more than 45 years old.
  • A reconnaissance level survey form will be completed for each collection of resources identified (i.e. an isolated building on a ranch would get a single form while a grouping of structures such as a windmill, corral, and shed or a collection of archaeological features would get a single form).

Historic Context Study:

  • This document will present a thematic overview of the history of the area and will identify historic resource types associated with each identified theme.
  • The study will synthesize primary and secondary source research on the development of the area with the results from the field survey.
  • All property owners participating in the survey will receive a copy of the historic context study.

Click here to read the historic context study. (22 MB PDF will open in new tab)

Click here to read the cultural resources survey. (28 MB PDF will open in new tab)

Intensive Survey:

  • Following the reconnaissance-level survey, a selection of the most significant resources will be studied at the intensive level.
  • Intensive-level survey includes a detailed description, site maps, historical background, and an assessment of historical integrity
  • Determination of eligibility for listing

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Featured Project

Preservation for a Changing Colorado

Historic preservation has a direct economic benefit to communities and Colorado! Take a look at the 2017 study, which considered the ways adaption of historic places has a direct financial effect on the state.

This updated, most resent study, was the result of a partnership between Colorado Preservation, Inc and History Colorado, funded by a grant from History Colorado's State Historical Fund. Prepared by Clarion Associates, the new report 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 determined that for every $1 million spent on historic preservation in Colorado it produced $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, responds to the state’s changing demographics, and addresses climate concerns.

Click Here to see download and read the full report, "Preservation for a Changing Colorado".