Historic Preservation month celebration includes guided tour of Water Works and Rumbaugh Creek Bridge


By Cindy Schultz

Special to The SUN

Each May, Historic Preservation Month is recognized and celebrated across the country at national and state levels, as well as in rural communities, including Pagosa Springs.

Established in 1973 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the event is co-sponsored by preservation groups, state historical societies, businesses and civic organizations and other heritage groups and enthusiasts.

As one of over 60 certified local governments in Colorado, Pagosa Springs will celebrate Historic Preservation month locally with a public open house on Wednesday, May 16. The event will begin with a guided tour of the first locally designated site in the town, the historic Water Works facility.

Completed in 1938 as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project, the Water Works facility was designated by town council as historically significant by emergency ordinance in 1999. This designation prompted the formation of a Historic Preservation Board and associated preservation guidelines and regulations.

The guided tour will explore the overall site, providing a background on the Water Works history and construction and conclude at a spot overlooking the site where participants will be invited to grab a light snack and drink and join in public input activity. As a public site, the town is seeking community members’ input to ensure potential options can be considered in site planning. The Water Works facility is on property envisioned to include a Riverwalk trail connection, and future uses and activities should anticipate this trail connection.

The tour will also include views of the recently stabilized Rumbaugh Creek Bridge adjacent to the Water Works. This stone arch bridge predates the Water Works facility, constructed late 1800s. This bridge is estimated to be one of only a few bridges exemplifying this type of stone arch construction still remaining.

Part of the bridge stabilization, which was completed in early March, included constructing a new creek pan and spillway. This feature creates a scenic vista from the east side of the San Juan River. The public engagement process into the future site planning considerations should also capitalize on this scenic river vista over which the stone arch bridge spans, as well as the Riverwalk connection.

The May 16 open house will kick off a four-part series of public events aimed to gather and hone feedback and input on the combined site.

The event will begin at 5 p.m. at the site, 96 N. 1st St., the site of the San Juan Historical Museum. Parking is available on 1st and Lewis streets and at the museum after 5 p.m.

This event coincides with the 2018 opening of the San Juan Historical Museum.

For more information, please contact Town Planning at cschultz@pagosasprings.co.org or 264-4151, ext. 221.