| Gambling town's old buildings lead preservation group's
list of "most endangered
Rocky Mountain News February 7, 1998
Classic sites face extinction:
In a twist on lists that celebrate the biggest and the best,
Colorado Preservation Inc. Friday announced its inaugural lineup of the state's "most endangered'' places.
Leading the pack of seven "winning'' buildings and areas were the gambling towns of Colorado.
Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek are endangered because "casino development threatens to overwhelm and destroy the very
historic qualities that the constitutional amendment was to preserve,'' CPI
officials noted in the presentation.
Threats include a plan to build a casino 900 feet long and 12 stories tall in the once low-density town of Black Hawk, plus the proposal to move the 1860s Lace House to make way for a parking lot. The dicey fate
of the Lace House inspired CPI to begin a most endangered list for Colorado.
The group also has nominated the gambling towns for the 11 Most Endangered Places in America list published for a decade by the National
Trust for Historic Preservation.
Next in line for concern is Leadville's mining district, where
work on the Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund site has cost the town dozens of historic mining structures.
Also on the 1998 list are: the Historical Cultural Landscape of the Purgatoire River Valley in Las Animas and Bent counties, the Preston Farm in Fort Collins, the Christian Science Church in Victor, the Lewis Mill
outside Telluride, and the Toltec Hotel in Trinidad.
The sites on CPI's list face destruction via neglect, vandalism, demolition and the threat of development, said Barbara
McFarlane, who chaired the committee that considered 58 nominations statewide for the list.
In the audience of 300 were some state legislators from the areas, including Sen. Ken
Chlouber, R-Leadville. Chlouber, who was involved in the original legislation paving the way
for limited stakes gambling in 1990, has introduced a bill to limit casino developers to
the style and design common to those areas before World War I. The bill also addresses the
issue of size and scale in construction in the three towns.