The City of Pueblo and partners are conducting an architectural building survey and historic narrative of Downtown Pueblo to provide education and advisement on ways to support and further develop the Downtown business district. They are inviting the public to provide input at a meeting Wednesday, June 26th from 5:30 pm until 7:00 pm at the Federal Building’s 3rd Floor Ballroom.
In 2017, the City of Pueblo completed Part 1 of their Historic Survey, which documented 154 buildings on 149 sites, and provided am 84-page historic narrative of Downtown Pueblo. The focus was on 1870, when the Town of Pueblo was incorporated, then from 1890 until 1915, when the Downtown business district took shape with iconic architecture – and on how commercial development evolved through the 1960s. Here’s a recap with a link to the survey below:
According to old maps, the Downtown Pueblo subdivision was “Original Town” in relation to surrounding named subdivisions. This area has been officially labeled as “Downtown Pueblo’s Historic District, the commercial heart of Pueblo, central to Pueblo business. Direct from the survey:
“As industry grew in Pueblo, such as ore processing and smelting in support of Colorado’s mines in the 1870s—followed by steel milling in the 1880s, commercial businesses grew in Downtown Pueblo, including banks, hotels, newspapers and printers, mercantiles, theaters, professional and government offices, and other providers of goods and services.
Development was spurred in Pueblo by the arrival of the Denver & Rio Grande (D&RG) Railroad in 1872 and the establishment of steel milling in 1880 by the Colorado Coal & Iron Company (CC&I), a subsidiary to that first area railroad (Thomas 2007). By the 1880s and through the early 1900s, the stone, brick, and other more closely packed, fire-durable buildings were constructed, and continue to characterize the Downtown Pueblo area to the present day.
Many of the earliest building block developments from the 1880s through the beginning of the 1900s remain (usually in brick), infilled and redeveloped only here and there by construction from subsequent decades. The prominence and profile of the original downtown subdivision stood out structurally and visibly from the surrounding neighborhoods in the 1880s and continues to do so through the Historic era.
Downtown Pueblo evokes the tightly clustered buildings and skyline of a traditional American city that came of age in the industrial age of the late nineteenth century and matured through the age of suburban expansion that arose in the latter half of the twentieth century. Buildings available for forming a Downtown Pueblo Historic District within the original subdivision are generally those significant to Pueblo commerce from the 1882 date of its earliest persisting building through the end of the Historic era, which is 50 years ago or ca. 1967 at time of this survey concluding.
Many of the historic buildings that have lost integrity in the area still retain their basic historic shape and skylines that continue to reflect the historic streetscape—it is not as if they have been replaced by high-rise construction that overshadows those historic buildings that remain more intact. The majority of these are recommended as local historic landmarks.
In sum, Downtown Pueblo holds excellent examples of the city’s oldest remaining commercial buildings, with an architecture reflecting a city at work through the present day—whether banking, running a bar, or selling a car. The core of the original Pueblo subdivision retains a sufficient representation of historic properties to potentially nominate a Downtown Pueblo Historic District under Criterion A for its historical importance to local commercial and, potentially social, themes).”
In early 2019, the second part of the project was launched, to include a reconnaissance survey of 15 more properties, and to add histories of influential persons, events, and changes to buildings that were significant to the historic commercial development of Downtown. The reconnaissance survey area is focused on the downtown core business area at Main Street, extending from City Center Drive north to West 11th Street, and from North Albany Avenue west to North Greenwood Street.
Pueblo Senior Planner Alan Lamberg, project manager, says he hopes the survey will help point the way to promoting Downtown Pueblo. He and others will lead the public meeting, beginning with a press conference to introduce presenters, the project and its purpose, with public input.
The Federal Building is located at 421 North Main Street.
Stay informed by visiting the project portal at https://Pueblo.us/2264, HPC@pueblo.us, or 719-553-2259.
Link to 2017 A Survey and Context of Downtown Pueblo’s History and Architecture – https://pueblo.us/DocumentCenter/View/19928/Downtown-Pueblo-Report-and-Context_FINAL
Photo of Pueblo in the day.
Story by Jenny Paulson / Pueblo Independent Magazine