As 5 new historic sites enter the Colorado’s Most Endangered Places list, 1 is marked as saved — and another as lost

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Courtesy of Colorado Preservation, Inc.
A historic photo of the R and R Market in Costilla County.

Preservationists are in a constant race against time to save historic places at risk of being lost not just to the wrecking ball, but also to neglect and the elements. 

Each year, Colorado’s Most Endangered Places, a program of Colorado Preservation, Inc., adds new sites to the list. This year’s theme is “Closer to the Heart.”

“It really begins with community. A grassroots movement,” said Katie Peterson, director of Colorado’s Most Endangered Places.

“History is not just museums,” she told Colorado Matters senior host Ryan Warner. “It’s living, you know, just driving by all of the places that my great-great grandparents or my great-great-great-grandparents did. Feeling and reliving your ancestors' past is truly what history is about.”

Colorado’s Most Endangered Places works with communities and partners to raise both awareness and money to try to save sites at risk of being lost. In the past 25 years, it’s highlighted 135 historical sites in Colorado. Fifty-five were saved and eight were lost.

Junita Martinez lives in the town of San Francisco, Colorado in the San Luis Valley. She is working to save a small one-room adobe structure called the Feminilas Building which was spearheaded by the women’s auxiliary in the 1920s.

"The building has gone into disrepair, disarray. It's because I don't think people understood the significance of it even though it was the community's aunties and grandmas and mothers that belonged to it,” said Martinez. “It brings our community together and we can actually see a building that's part of the roots of our community, part of the heart of our community, which I like. This building is the heart of our village.”

Here are the endangered locations featured on this year’s list, as well as one previous structure now listed as “saved” and another previous structure that has been lost.

Courtesy of Colorado Preservation, Inc.
The Feminilas Building in Costilla County.

Endangered: Feminilas Building, San Luis Valley, Costilla County

The Feminilas Building is in San Francisco, Colorado, near San Francisco Creek, which brings water to the region. It is the only known structure separately owned and operated by the women’s auxiliary of the men’s labor organization, La Sociedad Protección Mutua de Trabajadores Unidos (SPMDTU). It was spearheaded by the women’s auxiliary as a place to meet and fundraise.

The one-room adobe building is at risk of collapsing due to the elements. Colorado Preservation, Inc. says the building preserves the unique traditions, language, and culture of the San Luis Valley and the contributions of Hispanic women.

Courtesy of Colorado Preservation, Inc.
The Far View Visitor Center at Mesa Verde National Park in Montezuma County.

Endangered: Far View Visitor Center, Mesa Verde National Park, Montezuma County

The Far View Visitor Center was built in 1967 and is one of the first visitor centers in the National Park Service. It closed in 2012. One idea is to preserve and renovate the building which features a unique architectural design and create a center for the Indigenous community in the region. Colorado Preservation, Inc. is hoping to partner with the National Park Service to save this building.

Courtesy of Colorado Preservation, Inc.
The Garcia School in Costilla County.

Endangered: Garcia School, San Luis Valley, Costilla County

The Garcia School is another adobe building, constructed in 1913. It is on the State Register of Historic Properties and is one of the last structures of Plaza de Los Manzanares, the site of the first European settlement in Colorado. The Centennial School District has received a Colorado Department of Education and Connecting Colorado Students Grant (CCSG) for $3.2 million to create an internet and remote learning center in the Garcia School.

Courtesy of Colorado Preservation, Inc.
The Koch Homestead, near Aspen in Pitkin County.

Endangered: Koch Homestead, near Aspen, Pitkin County

The Koch Homestead was critical to the settlement and development of Aspen. Also known as the Adelaide Ranch, the remaining structures are deteriorating. The Koch Homestead provided services like meat, produce, dairy, lumber, and fresh water to the first miners and settlers in Aspen beginning in 1887. The U.S. Forest Service owns the property which is near hiking trails.

Courtesy of Colorado Preservation, Inc.
The South Platte Hotel in Jefferson County.

Endangered: South Platte Hotel, Jefferson County

The hotel was built in 1913 after the original, constructed in 1887, was lost to arson. It is the only building left of the South Platte community and represents Colorado’s narrow gauge railroad history. The building has been owned by Denver Water since 1987 and while it is slated for demolition, there is growing interest among the community and historic organizations to work with Denver Water to find an adaptive reuse of the building.

Courtesy of Colorado Preservation, Inc.
The R&R Market in Costilla County today.

Saved: R&R Market, San Luis Valley, Costilla County

The R&R Market, now known as the San Luis Peoples Market in Costilla County, had been family-owned since 1857 and was in danger of being lost to the ravages of time. It was the oldest business in the state. Dr. Devon Peña has since purchased the building and has opened a store that provides fresh produce to the region and will soon offer a hardware store.

Courtesy of Colorado Preservation, Inc.
A historic photo of the Craig Depot in Moffat County.

Lost: Craig Depot, Moffat County

The Craig Depot, built in 1917 in the town of Craig, was demolished in April after plans to relocate it fell through. The depot at one point served as a key shipping stop in the region for wool. Before it was destroyed, the Museum of Northwest Colorado was able to preserve a clock, a bench, a destination sign, and some of the bones of the building which are made of Carnegie Steel.