Barlow and Sanderson Stage Office comes home to RGC Museum

Photos courtesy of John McEvoy Last week, the Rio Grande County Museum and Creek Water Construction dismantled and moved the Barlow and Sanderson Stage Office. Plans to restore the 1875 building are well underway.

DEL NORTE - After almost two years, the Rio Grande County Museum recently announced that the Barlow and Sanderson Stage Office has come home to its resting place and will be restored and available for viewing by the end of 2024.

With the help of several volunteers and Creek Water Construction owners, Matt Espinoza and Karie Lichtenfeld, the Barlow and Sanderson Stage Office building was successfully dismantled and transported with the help of the Town of Del Norte to the Rio Grande County Museum.

It has taken two years to bring the building to the museum. Just over $30,000 was raised with the help of several donors, organizations and the current Rio Grande County Board of Commissioners to make this happen. The stage office was moved three times over the years, but this was the first time the building was completely dismantled.

Efforts to save the Barlow and Sanderson Stage Office began back in the 1970s when local historian Ruth Marie Colville set out to see that the historic building was preserved. The building was built in 1875 near the Windsor Hotel. Once plans to build the hotel were underway, the building was moved to the west end of Del Norte where the Barlow and Sanderson Stables were located.

In the 1970s, Colville gathered a group of volunteers and had the building moved once again to the park across from Town Hall on the north end of Del Norte where it slowly fell into disrepair. It was then that Colville’s daughter Suzanne Off and resident Patty Kelly decided it was time to try and save the building.

Over the past two years, the Rio Grande County Museum, the Town of Del Norte, the Rio Grande County commissioners, the Windsor Hotel and the Del Norte Public Library worked with several volunteers and donors to raise the funds to save the building and move it to its new home at the museum.

Now with the help of Creek Water Construction, the building will be restored and rebuilt in the back courtyard of the museum and will serve as a permanent exhibit. The exhibit will showcase what the office would have looked like when travelers arrived in the Del Norte area in the late 1800s and is reunited with the original 1876 Barlow and Sanderson Stagecoach that was loaned to the museum by the City of Monte Vista.

Plans are to have the new building available to the public for viewing by the end of the summer, weather and time permitting. A huge thanks goes out to everyone who made donations and supported efforts to save the Barlow as well as those who are continuing to help volunteer time and services to see the building restored to its original glory.