DENVER — Colorado’s Most Endangered Places List was announced recently by CBS4 Meteorologist Dave Aguilera at Colorado Preservation, Inc.’s 2020 Saving Places® Conference at the Sheraton Downtown Denver Hotel.
Two important sites were recognized as saved and another site moved from alert to progress.
Since 1998, Colorado Preservation, Inc., has been working with communities throughout the state to save endangered historic buildings, landscapes and archaeological sites through its Endangered Places Program.
Having sat vacant since 1951, The Denver & Rio Grande Antonito Depot in Conejos County had been listed as one of Colorado’s Most Endangered Places and then recognized as saved.
Colorado Preservation, Inc.’s Saving Places® program provides advocacy, awareness and technical assistance to significant historic sites throughout Colorado that are in danger of being lost.
Colorado Preservation, Inc. devotes staff time and resources to raise funds and rally concerned citizens so that listed as well as un-listed sites can be saved. In 23 years, the Colorado’s Most Endangered Places program has highlighted 127 historic sites throughout the state; 50 sites have been saved and only seven have been lost. The program has a wide reach, with sites located in every region of the state in 49 of the 64 counties.
The Denver and Rio Grande Western Depot is not only one of Antonito’s greatest historic assets, it is also a key to building of the town itself.
Constructed out of quarried ashlar volcanic stone, the depot served the town of Antonito and the surrounding communities until 1951, when it fell into neglect and inadequate maintenance.
The significance of the Depot is evident in the fact that all of Antonito’s original buildings were constructed to face the station.
When listed on the Most Endangered Places list, the depot had been vacant for more than 50 years with neglect and deferred maintenance taking a toll on the structure.
Repairs were done by volunters and paid workers when funds came available.
Workers recovered many historic items and photographed the interior, which will be the next step in restoration.
Structurally sound, the depot continues to deteriorate from lack of maintenance.
The town of Antonito has formed a partnership with Conejos County Commissioners, Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic & Historic Byway and Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec, along with Permian Basin Railroad, known as the Antonito/Conejos Railroad Heritage Alliance, to help the town with preservation plans, grant writing and fundraising.
In 2016, CPI, the Town of Antonito and the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area partnered to obtain a State Historical Fund grant for restoration of the depot.
Work began in late summer 2016 to repair windows, doors and woodwork, replace the roof and to rebuild the chimneys.
Schuber-Darden Architects and Empire Carpentry are contractors on the project. The rehabilitation is nearly complete on the initial SHF grant for exterior rehabilitation, including windows, doors eaves/brackets, chimney and painting.
This grant was managed by CPI and involved key partnerships provided by the Sangre de Cristo Heritage Alliance.
A second grant for Phase 2 rehabilitation has been submitted.