Cardiff School moves to new home
Two graduates of the Class of 1929, along with other former students, watched and reminisced as their old school was placed at its new home.
One of those graduates of the Cardiff School, Primo Martino, also served as the president of the Cardiff School Board when the school closed in 1947.
“I was the one who closed it. I was president of the board,” he said Thursday at a ceremony marking the historical move of the historic structure.
“There wasn’t enough money to keep it running. We didn’t keep up the mill levy, and no one was going to school there, everyone was going to Glenwood,” he said.
Anna Wilson, who graduated with Martino, said she went to school there and remembered being schooled under teacher Alma Harris.
Another student, Betty Doose Wyatt, said there were some wonderful dances at the old school.
“I had to ride there on horseback from a ranch up Four Mile,” she said.
And then there’s Ellen Quigley. She didn’t go to school there, but she remembered the party friends threw her after she returned from being married in Colorado Springs.
“It was nice in there. As I recall it was really a cold, cold night,” she said.
That cold was moderated somewhat by a wood stove that burned all night – a night when she didn’t get home until around 4 a.m.
“Earl Skidmore did a story about the party in the Morning Reminder,” she said of the then-Glenwood Springs newspaper.
In the 55 years since its closing, the school has been sitting in the same spot, serving as a tool shed for Mike Alsdorf’s Downvalley Gutter company during the last few years. But all that’s about to change.
Once moved, the school was dedicated and handed over to the Glenwood Springs Parks and Recreation Department. Once it’s fixed up, it will again serve as a place of learning, but this time it will be a place for kids to learn about river ecology.
“I hope that this building is going to be special to a lot of people in the future as it has been special to me in the past,” Alsdorf said as he handed Mayor Don Vanderhoof a symbolic key.
In all, about 30 people turned out at Conservancy Park in the Park East subdivision to watch as the school was placed on its new foundation.
“They found that the schoolhouse wasn’t square, but the foundation is,” said Jean Martensen, a Glenwood Springs City Councilwoman and member of the Red Mountain Friends of Historic Preservation. Friends is the organization that has rallied and raised money to move the school. The move cost $30,000, according to Red Mountain Friends member Marice Doll.
“This is a 112-year-old schoolhouse moving into its future,” Doll said.
Doll said the group will power-wash the outside and give the school a primer paint job.
“I’m just so glad it’s finally being moved,” she said.
Next spring and summer the group plans to raise $50,000 to revamp the school and get it back to its former glory.
Once finished with the tedious task of chipping the schoolhouse out of its foundation, it was time for the hard part – moving it.
Preparations have been in the works to move the 40-foot-long school for nearly two years. But the physical work of removing it from its foundation and moving it to its new home at Park East really began this week.
Bill Bailey, owner of Bailey House Moving, said it took him and his crew about two days to chip the school’s floor joists out of the school’s concrete foundation.
Thursday’s move was the second time this school has changed locations. The first time workers moved it – many years ago – they set the school in its foundation and let the concrete dry around the wood.
“You don’t put cement up against wood like that, it just keeps the moisture in,” Bailey said. “People used to think it helped, but it just makes it rot faster.”
The technique caused the joists to rot, forcing workers to nail new joists to the old ones so the school could handle its own weight when placed on its new foundation at Conservancy Park.
Around 1:30 p.m., Bailey, with much help from his crew, backed the school onto its foundation.
As one of the workers crouched under the school as it moved, elementary-school-age Carrie Keller said, “That would scare the `bojebos’ out of me.”
“She’s never seen anything like this before,” said her mom, Barb Keller.
By 4:30 p.m., the finishing touches were being completed.
“She’s not very pretty now,” Doll said, “but by this time next year, we’ll have lipstick on this beauty.”
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