This year’s list of the state’s most endangered landmarks has just been released. It's an eclectic mix, ranging from an old homesteader’s ranch in Grand County, Colo., to the collection of eye-catching neon signs along Colfax Avenue in the Denver metro area.
Every year, Colorado Preservation, Inc. releases a list of historic sites in the state that it says are in need of repair or in danger of demolition. The group wants to get the public’s attention in order to preserve the landmarks.
The homesteader’s ranch on this year’s list, built in 1895, has had several uses. At one time, it provided a stop for the Georgetown Stage Line as well as a roadhouse for other travelers. Known as the 4 Bar 4 Ranch, it eventually became a Ford car dealership and is now vacant.
The neon signs on hotels and buildings along Colfax Avenue between Lakewood to Aurora made the list in part because of the corridor’s history.
Rachel Parris of Colorado Preservation, Inc. told Colorado Matters’ host Ryan Warner that Colfax was once known as the “Gateway to the Rockies.” People would stay in the hotels that line the avenue on their way to vacation in the Rockies.
Today, some of the signs have been broken or the bulbs have burned out, and Parris says replacing them is expensive.
The other three sites on the 2014 list include an old tower called Hahn’s Peak Lookout in northwest Colorado, as well as a group of mid-century commercial buildings in Littleton, Colo., and the Montoya Ranch in the southern part of the state.
Parris said Colorado Preservation, Inc. has a good track record for preserving sites that have made the list in the past.
“We have 101 sites that have been listed, 33 of which are classified as a save, and we’ve only lost six of those sites to demolition,” Parris said.
One of the sites that made last year’s list, the old Fort Lyon prison in southeastern Colorado, has been refurbished and is now transitional housing for the homeless.
But Parris said there are still some buildings on the Fort Lyon property that need attention, and Colorado Preservation, Inc. is working with local county commissioners to try to preserve those buildings.