Historic sites in Southern Colorado recognized for preservation and modern uses

Shanna Lewis/KRCC News
The Holmes Hardware building sits near the Arkansas River in Pueblo’s downtown historic Union Avenue District. Built in the early 1900s, it’s being remodeled into a food hall and apartments. (April 24, 2022)

Historically significant buildings in Trinidad, Florence and Pueblo now house projects designed to promote economic opportunities and address issues like affordable housing in the region. 

Fuel and Iron Food Hall in Pueblo, Emergent Campus in Florence and East Street School in Trinidad are among the recipients of this year’s Stephen H. Hart Awards from History Colorado, which according to a press release, recognize “innovative approaches, in-depth research, and/or use of proper techniques that honor the historic significance and craftsmanship of Colorado’s archaeological and built environment.”

More than a century ago a massive red brick structure in Pueblo’s historic Union Avenue district was the site of a hardware store. It sat empty for several decades before it was purchased a few years ago by developers. 

Now the so-called Holmes Hardware building maintains its historic character and hosts the incubator Fuel and Iron Food Hall, which features six different food purveyors. The upper floors have 28 workforce housing units. Future plans include linking local farms with food services.

Emergent Campus has transformed the historic Florence High School, in Florence, into a co-working space for technology companies seeking lower operating costs. According to the announcement, the space has generated more than 80 new tech-based jobs in Fremont County, while maintaining the historic integrity of the classical-revival style building—which also happens to be on the National Register of Historic Places.

The 1919 East Street School in Trinidad was designed by Isaac H. Rapp and William M. Rapp, who had a well-known architectural firm in that era. It’s been turned into 15 loft-style living quarters for artists along with a professional culinary area. Many of its original features– like expansive windows–have been restored, according to the press release.

Statewide, the Chicano/a/x Murals of Colorado Project to “protect, promote and preserve” Chicano/a/x murals was also recognized. The project’s work included adding the mural titled “Sierra y Colores” in San Luis by artist Carlos Sandoval to the National Register of Historic Places, the first time a Chicano mural in Colorado has been listed.

Also the Colorado State Land Board was recognized in the Hart Awards for its “commitment to protecting and preserving historic places.”

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