Colorado Preservation Inc. sets its sights on five more historic landmarks after saving a Denver sundial

The organization announced its Colorado’s Most Endangered List on Tuesday during its conference in Denver.
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Crowd gathers as people take a look at the recently completed sundial at Cranmer Park. (Allan Tellis/ Denverite)

Colorado Preservation Inc. on Tuesday announced the latest sites it hopes to help preserve while also announcing four sites -- including one in Denver -- it's deemed "saved" across the state.

The 22nd edition of Colorado's Most Endangered Places included four sites in Southern Colorado and one regional site encompassing multiple counties. The program was created by Colorado Preservation Inc. and was announced during the organization's Saving Places Conference in Denver.

The organization also announced four sites, including Cramer Park's historic sundial and terrace in Denver, deemed "saved" after appearing on their endangered list. The other sites included the Colona School and Grange in Ouray County, Crossan's Market in Routt County and the McElmo Creek Flume in Montezuma County.

Endangered Places Program Director Kim Grant said his program selects sites after communities nominate them. After that, they go through a regional review and selection process. Announcing them on the list is meant to spark larger efforts to work with the local stakeholders to figure out how to save a site.

Cranmer Park was selected as an endangered site in 2013. The Hilltop site joined other Denver sites deemed "saved," including the Sullivan Gateway at East High School and Civic Center Park. There are still sites listed as "in progress," including the neon signs on Colfax.

Kim Grant, Endangered Places program director at Colorado Preservation, Inc., speaks at the organization's 2019 Saving Places Conference, Feb. 5, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Grant said that overall 47 other sites have been saved after being placed on the endangered list. There are 123 sites on their list, including 44 where Grant said groups are actively working on saving them.

But they can't save them all. They've lost seven buildings, despite people's efforts, Grant said.

Grant said it's not often they end up choosing regional or statewide sites like they did this year.

Here are the 2019 Most Endangered Places:

  • Adobe Potato Cellars of San Luis Valley (Regional). Cellars in the region constructed in the late 1800s to early-to-mid 1900s.
  • Hose Company No. 3 Fire Museum (Pueblo County). A two-story museum owned by the city and operated by volunteers.
  • Iglesia de San Antonio-Tiffany Catholic Church (La Plata County). A historic church built in 1928.
  • McIntire Ranch and Mansion (Conejos County). A historic archeological site with visible ranch remain.
  • R&R Market (Costilla County). The store is the oldest continuously operated business in the state.

"We try to have a wide dispersion of sites in the state so that all of Colorado's heritage is represented, but this year we had a unique opportunity," Grant said. "Partnerships and nominations came together from the San Luis Valley, so we decided to make a particular concentration there this year."

The organization has chosen statewide sites twice, including the Native American Arboreal Wickiup and Teepee sites listed in 2003.

Development pressures are usually what most threaten sites in the metro area, while abandonment and neglect often affect rural sites. The harsh elements in mountain communities are usually their biggest threats.

"There are a lot of different threats to them," Grant said, adding that there are rare occasions when sites affected by natural disasters or fires are selected.

Gov. Jared Polis opened Tuesday's lunch, receiving a standing ovation from conference attendees.

He mentioned some of the organization's previous success stories in Denver, including helping to preserve a part of his current offices, the iconic Capitol dome.

Governor Jared Polis speaks at Colorado Preservation, Inc.'s 2019 Saving Places Conference, Feb. 5, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Polis thanked them for helping maintain "little treasured bits of history," calling their work important. He cited their work for helping keep a sense of place for current residents and future generations, and for preserving places "that defined the character of the West."

He tied it in with the state's growth, which he said needs to be addressed while ensuring the past some structures represent is honored. That includes ensuring older buildings have modern improvements that make them accessible and efficient.

"Whether it's a nineteen-century building tucked in between a bustling tech incubator, a modern skyscraper, or whether it's a historic downtown promenade in a small town on the Western Slope," Polis said, "these are the things that make Colorado Colorado."

Grant said he was encouraged by the governor's overall message.

"At the same time, we are a growing state," Grant said. "Preservation has never been about anti-development or anti-progress. We believe that you can build a future with historic workplaces and still accommodate new development, new architecture, new populations."

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