ALAMOSA — Chairman Don Thompson gave a program presentation to the Alamosa Rotary Club at noon Monday to update Rotary on the history of historic preservation here, and summarize “The current status of the city council advisory committee,” he leads. Even for someone new to the entity, the number of historical sites exhibited on a screen by Thompson was a little surprising, beginning with an image of a building which constructed in 1886 as the town’s original post office site, among other functions at 527 Sixth St. Less than a block away at 611 Sixth St. were City Hall and the Fire Department as early as 1904.
The downtown Alamosa Historic Walking Tour will take place May 26. The Rotary members were given a small-sized pamphlet listing 26 sites, mostly old buildings, with a paragraph or two history of each, including original function and what they are now and when their existence began. An example is the 1909 American Bank Building, a bank until 1951, now the Center for Restorative Programs (CRP). It is at 500 State Ave., at the southeast corner with Main Street, the west flowing U.S. Highway 160 portion in the center of town.
The oldest historical object cited in the walking tour guide is not a building: perhaps fitting as Alamosa’s origins as a railroad town, it is a rail “business car” built in 1881 and exhibited next to City Hall attached to Denver & Rio Grande Railroad Locomotive No. 169, which came into existence in 1883.
Something this reporter was not aware of, is the site of Alamosa’s first public school building, about 1882, was at State and Third. Now Motor Parts, an auto parts store, needless to say after modifications in later years. The lots the school was built on was sold to Alpha Ruby, the owner of the Colorado Theater Co., in 1907 and housed a dance hall from 1908 into the early 1920s, according to the walking guide pamphlet.
During his presentation, Thompson made some positive points to the Rotary about the good things historical preservation can do not only for increased tourist spending for the town, but savings to business owners of historical sites through potential grants when buildings are refurbished in a historically respected manner.
Another positive part of the meeting, given at Juanito’s Mexican Kitchen, was the announcement that with the acquisition of 46 pairs of roller skates, beginning Friday, May 31, roller skating for the public will be available at the Alamosa Recreation Center. The announcement also recognized some want to use their own pairs of skates and that is welcomed. Having an answer to the common question, “When can we start skating?” will now have a much sooner answer than one will have to wait for the next ice skating season.