Top 10 True Western Towns of 2010

Towns to Watch

Ogden, UT

If you want to see an example of a “hip” historic district, Ogden’s Historic 25th Street is it. Entertainment, art, lodging, dining, shopping and nightlife are all found here. To bring greater awareness to its historic districts, the city is creating walking tour brochures for 25th Street, Eccles Avenue District and Jefferson Avenue District. Citizens are currently fighting to save the 1908 Windsor Hotel on 25th Street. How the Ogden Landmarks Commission votes could indicate if Ogden is moving in the right direction toward preserving its heritage.


Fort Garland, CO

Since 2004, Fort Garland has received international acclaim due to Dr. Richard Goddard’s field school at the 1858 Fort Garland. The field school volunteers conduct research on the impact of the frontier fort on its occupants and the local residents. We’re anxious to see what all these archaeologists have dug up, and what the artifacts will add to the interpretation of the site.


Lander, WY

The South Pass City State Historic Site got a facelift in 2009, with interpretive signs placed along the Gold Flakes to Yellowcake Historic Mine Trail. The Carissa Mine, the main economic engine for South Pass City, is currently being stabilized by the Abandoned Mine Lands Division. At the same time, Lander is currently restoring the 1917 Noble Hotel for $4 million. The completion of these projects should prove to be a boon to Lander’s historic offerings.


Camp Verde, AZ

We are super excited about the ongoing restoration at the 1865 Fort Verde State Historic Park. But so far the specifics of the project have been hush hush. With preservation partners in the Fort Verde Historical Society, the Camp Verde Cavalry and the Friends of Camp Verde, we have every hope that the restoration will lead to an even better interpretive site.


Durango, CO

The 1893 Power House is scheduled to open in 2010 as the Durango Discovery Museum, and the city restored some of its historic buildings in 2009, including the circa 1880 Wallace Furniture building. Our only concern with Durango at the moment is what will come of the Animas Canyon Toll Road. The Forest Service is supposed to reshape a portion of it into a private golf course. If that happens, one of Colorado’s most intact examples of the early wagon road will be ruined.


Clayton, NM

Added in April 2009 to New Mexico’s historic districts, downtown Clayton offers numerous historic buildings, such as the 1892 Eklund Hotel, the 1909 R.W. Isaac’s Hardware Company (still operating as a hardware store) and the B&H Feed Supply Warehouse with a rare wooden grain elevator. The National Park Service also designated a local museum as an official Santa Fe Trail interpretive center. We’re watching to see what is going to come out of all of this good news.


Seattle, WA

The year 2009 saw the first meeting of the Young Preservationists Group in Seattle. Members attend events, workshops and lectures related to preservation in the Puget Sound region. We hope their “Preservation Prowls” around Seattle will result in re-energizing some of the city’s historic sites, especially those sites that help interpret the Klondike Gold Rush era.


Wickenburg, AZ

The Wickenburg Bypass and Roundabouts became fully operational in September 2009. One of the purposes of the bypass was to eliminate traffic congestion on the town’s main drag, at the junction of U.S. 60 and U.S. 93. The hope is that historic downtown will now possess a quiet, pedestrian-friendly environment. Given Wickenburg’s past preservation efforts, we are looking forward to this move spurring even more great projects.


Tacoma, WA

A citywide inventory of pre-1965 religious structures identified more than 170 sacred buildings in Tacoma. As a result, the city put together its “Historic Sacred Places Tour” of 15 buildings dating from 1873-1968. One of the religious structures, Trinity Methodist Church, just got removed from the preservation watch list. On the other side of the coin, the 1891 Luzon Building was demolished in 2009. We’re watching to see if historic preservation is still a part of the city’s renaissance investment in its downtown core.


Cripple Creek, CO

The Cripple Creek District Museum remains the engine that drives the city’s preservation efforts. Renovations in 2009 included the 1895 Midland Terminal Depot, the 1894 Trading and Transfer Co. building and ongoing restoration of a 1909 Seagrave Fire Engine, one of only two known in the United States. On top of that, the Double Eagle Hotel and Casino saved the 1896 brothel Parlour House. We’re waiting to see what is next for the brothel, and what the year’s renovations will mean for Cripple Creek.

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