City makes, preserves history
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – An old-style schoolhouse and the graveyard that is purported to be the burial grounds for one of the West’s most infamous gunslingers are among the historic places that will now be preserved for the ages. That’s because on Thursday, the Glenwood Springs City Council officially approved local designations for two historical landmarks – the old Cardiff schoolhouse and the Linwood Cemetery. These are the first-ever such designations made by Glenwood Springs. And city planner Mike Pelletier said he hopes they spur others to designate their property as historic. “I think it’s an important road for the city to go down,” he said.Pelletier, along with Red Mountain Friends of Historic Preservation and the Frontier Historical Society, helped coordinate the efforts that made these designations a reality. “Going through the process, I think, was real painless for everybody,” he said. The schoolhouse was built in 1887 for the residents of the then-bustling coal town of Cardiff – population 400. At its peak, it accommodated 75 students and two teachers. But in the mid-1930s, the coal boom ended and the town of Cardiff died out, leaving the school barren.But although it’s weathered on the outside, there are still some valuable relics from the past inside, including the original floor, slate blackboard and lights.”The schoolhouse definitely is a key to the past. It’s something people can touch and feel,” Pelletier told council Thursday. Once it’s fixed up, the school will again serve as a place of learning. But this time it will be a place for kids to learn about river ecology. “I think it’s really important that it becomes a local landmark,” Red Mountain Friends of Historic Preservation member Marice Doll said. “That way it will get recognition from the community, and also it’s the best way to protect it.”Doll said she and the other volunteers from Red Mountain Friends plan to work on the school’s landscaping this summer, then get started on the school’s vintage innards next winter. Doll said she figures the school will be ready for public use by summer 2004.The Linwood – or Pioneer – Cemetery, which has a tombstone for infamous gambler and gunslinger John “Doc” Holliday, is the third-most-visited tourist attraction in Glenwood Springs. But over the years it’s sustained heavy damage from water runoff and a general lack of upkeep. Water running across the surface of the cemetery during the spring snowmelt and rainstorms has taken nearly two feet of topsoil from some of the grave sites.But with its new designation as a local historical landmark, Frontier Historical Museum director Cindy Cochran said she and volunteers plan to remedy the situation during the next several years by cleaning up the area, trimming back bushes and branches, filling in holes, putting together a new drainage system, redoing the fence and entrance, revamping the trail, installing interpretive signs and possibly finding families to adopt headstones occupied by deceased people who no longer have family in the area. “We’re excited about it,” she said. “This will now allow us to apply for some grants that we weren’t eligible for before.”In other business Thursday, City Council:-Gave the go-ahead to implement additional two-hour parking on many downtown streets. The new rules are tentatively expected to take effect on April 21. Residents of the area will be allowed up to two parking permits exempting them from the restrictions, and one temporary guest pass.
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