Town to consider landmark designation

On Dec. 3 and 19, the Pagosa Springs Town Council is anticipated to consider an ordinance that would declare 444 Lewis Street a local historic landmark.
The request, made by property owner Clayton Buchner, was heard by the Pagosa Springs Historic Preservation Board on Nov. 6, with that board voting unanimously to recommend that town council designate the property as a local landmark.
Designation of local landmarks is allowed under Article 8 of the town’s Land Use and Development Code (LUDC), specifically under sections 8.3 and 8.4.
According to information provided to the Historic Preservation Board by Senior Planner Cindy Schultz, to qualify for designation, the property must be over 50 years old; the property and structure must retain structural integrity; and the property must have architectural, social and geographical/environmental significance.
While located within the town’s historic district, the home, which now houses an attorney’s office and other businesses, is not currently a designated landmark, but is viewed as a “contributing property” within the historic district.
According to Buchner’s application, “This building dates back to 1910 and has local cultural significance due to its age and the historical development of Pagosa Springs, and as Bryce and Julia Patterson’s home from 1912 to 1924. The Pattersons owned and operated the Champion Mine is (sic) Silverton, CO, before moving to Pagosa, and owned and operated the Arlington Bath House and Hotel in Pagosa Springs, CO until 1936.”
At the meeting, Schultz indicated that the building was a Sears, Roebuck and Co. kit home, with Buchner adding that the kit was from the company’s 1908 catalog.
The lot was part of the town’s original 1883 plat.
In her report on the subject, Schultz wrote: “The foursquare construction style was typical, not locally significant however, the home was built as a Sears and Roebuck kit home. Sears and Roebuck revolutionized this method delivering everything one needed to construct a new home to the owner’s town or city. Sears archival history sums it up ‘Sears was not an innovative home designer. Sears was instead a very able follower of popular taste.’ Sears popularized pre-fabricated homes decades before prefab became a part of popular lexicon. This allowed for mass-production and delivery reducing construction time up to 40% and eliminated the need for skilled carpenters.”
Sears’ archives show the house, the Hamilton model, retailed for $1,023 to $2,385.
The same document later explains: “Significance of Sears and Roebuck catalog shopping as a pioneer in that era was the anonymity mail order allowed to the buyers of anything from hardware to clothing to home furnishings to homes. At the time Sears and Roebuck (and Montgomery Wards, among others) rose to popularity with the masses they unknowingly changed lives of blacks in the Jim Crow era and other racially disadvantaged individuals, allowing them to purchase goods previously only made available to whites purchasing in person at retail stores.”
At the meeting, Buchner stated he plans to keep the stone structure, which is almost 1,800 square feet, as close to the original home as possible in fixing up and repairing it.
In response to questions, Buchner noted he has at least five of the house’s original windows and there may be original wood flooring in a portion of the house.
Section 8.9 of the LUDC states, “The Town Council may adopt policy, by resolution, for the granting of economic and other incentives for the retention, renovation, rehabilitation, restoration, and reuse of designated historic properties.”
The preservation board voted 4-0 in favor of recommending the structure’s designation.
The town currently has 15 designated landmarks, with the most recent being the Rumbaugh Creek bridge, which was designated in 2015.

This story was posted on November 20, 2019.