Depot’s endangered listing may signal help on the way

With the Grand Junction Union Depot now on Colorado’s Most Endangered Places List, help — and funding — may be on the way for this architectural and historical treasure.

Colorado Preservation Inc. Saving Places 2010 named the depot to the list at its annual conference in Denver Thursday.

Now in its 14th year, the purpose of the annual Colorado’s Most Endangered Places List is to build awareness of and assistance for endangered historic places. Of the 80 places named to the list from 1998–2010, 17 have been saved and 34 have experienced progress in the form of rehabilitation, stabilization, protection, preservation planning and/or assessment. Of the other 29, 26 remain in alert and three have been lost.

Colorado Preservation Inc. is a nonprofit organization founded in 1985 by citizens interested in preserving Colorado’s heritage. Its conference is the largest statewide gathering of preservationists in the nation.

When the depot was opened on April 15, 1906, it was reported in The Daily Sentinel that there was “nothing to surpass the waiting room in Colorado or Utah in point of finish, decorative effects and conveniences.”

The depot was built at a cost of $60,000, and at the time was one of the costliest small railroad stations of the West. The stained glass for the upper story windows reportedly cost $5 per square foot, and an additional $15,000 was spent on improving the grounds around the depot.

The Daily Sentinel gave readers a complete description of the interior, which featured “the immense oval waiting room” entered through glass and oak doors. The room is 63 feet long and 33 feet wide. The original ceiling height was 22 feet, finished in squares of cast plaster detail.

Sometime in the 1920s, the second floor was extended over the entire oval room to accommodate more office space, and the stained glass in the upper level windows was removed. In the late 1990s this second floor was removed, and the oval room once again has a 22-foot high ceiling with the cast plaster detail exposed.

In the 1990s, Jim Leany, who started but did not complete restoration, had several of the stained glass windows on the south side of the building restored.

Several other properties on the Western Slope that have been placed on the Most Endangered List and are in varying stages of rehabilitation from “alert” through “progress” to “save.”

Mesa County

Stranges Grocery Store, 2001 — Alert

Old Fruita Bridge, 2002 — Progress (moved from Alert this year)

Garfield County

Satank (Pink) Bridge, 2003 — Progress

Montrose County

The Hanging Flume on the Dolores River, 1999 — Progress

Ouray County

Red Mountain Mining District, 1999 —Saved (New save!)

Colona Grange/School, 2006 —Progress

Pitkin County

Emma Store, 2000 — Progress

Lime Kilns, 2001 — Saved Redstone Castle, 2004 — Saved

Rio Blanco County

Shield Rock Art, 2001 — Alert

Western Slope

Native American Arboreal Wickiup and Tepee Sites, 2003 – Progress

Colorado Preservation Inc.‘s Endangered Places Program was launched in 1997 with the purpose of identifying historic sites throughout Colorado that are in danger of being lost. Modeled after the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, Colorado’s Endangered Places program has been touted by the National Trust as one of the best in the nation. Since its inception, the program has won the Stephen H. Hart award from the Colorado Historical Society and has been designated as an official Save America’s Treasures project. The program has generated interest, recognition and funding for over 150 sites around the state, and has provided direct, intensive technical assistance to 80 sites that have made the program’s Most Endangered Places List.

Kathy Jordan is retired from The Daily Sentinel and involved in many preservation efforts, including the Avalon Theatre, the railroad depot and the North Seventh Street Historic Residential District.


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