Old Glenwood Springs jail displaced by new park restrooms
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – The old city jail building in Veltus-Kiwanis Park is slated to be removed to make way for new park restrooms.
At least for now, there’s no place to relocate the structure, according to Frontier Historical Society Director Cindy Hines.
The small, 12-by-12 foot jail building is mostly a replica of the original historic city jail, which was first built in the 800 block of Blake Avenue in 1886.
“It has parts of the original jail, like the hinges on the doors and the bars in the window,” Hines said. “But it’s been rebuilt a number of times with new wood, and there’s not a lot of the original building left.”
For that reason, and the fact that it’s long since been removed from its historical site, it’s not a likely candidate for formal historic designation, she said.
“If somebody wanted to put the building on another piece of property, we’d love to see that happen,” Hines said.
As it stands, though, the building is to be removed to make way for the new restrooms later this year. The old jail building now sits in the middle of a fenced-off work zone, in preparation for the restroom construction later this year.
If it’s dismantled, the Frontier Historical Society has asked to have any original pieces from the jail donated to the museum, Hines said.
The city of Glenwood Springs has budgeted $60,000 toward the replacement of the park restrooms. The old restroom building has already been torn down. A $90,000 Great Outdoors Colorado grant is being sought to complete funding for the project.
“The old restrooms were in pretty bad condition, and no one really wanted to go in there,” said Chuck Brenner, a member of the Glenwood Springs Kiwanis Club, the namesake for the park, which is helping with the project.
The new 480-square-foot restroom building will be somewhat larger than the old facility, with men’s and women’s restrooms and a family restroom.
“There will be baby changing stations in all the restrooms, and it will be handicapped accessible,” said Brenner, a retired architect who designed the new facility.
The new building will be located about 20 to 30 feet to the north of where the former structure was. Construction is planned for this summer.
The Kiwanis Club has been involved in developing the park since the 1950s, about the same time the old jail building was moved there.
According to a Frontier Diary column by Willa Soncarty that appeared in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent in February 2009, the original jail site was donated in 1886 by Judge William Gelder, an officer with the Defiance Town and Land Co.
On Feb. 20, 1886, Jerome B. Hardcastle was selected to construct the jail for a cost of $250. The jail was completed by March of that year, but within two years it was already too small.
Over the years, several additions were made to the original building. But in 1900, people living in the surrounding residential neighborhood petitioned to have the jail removed.
By 1904, the jail had been moved to another location, but the original building remained on the Blake Street property, changing hands and undergoing various modifications through the years.
“Hopefully, we can keep some of the original parts,” Hines said. “It would be nice to preserve those at least.”
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