This is where I’ll announce the most recent additions to our web site. If you’ve visited us before and want to know what’s changed, take a look here first.
Teaching at two miles high in Leadville, CO
In 2007, I returned from a two week teaching stint in Leadville/Twin Lakes, Colorado. The elevation in historic Leadville is over ten thousand feet in elevation, making it the highest incorporated city in the United States. I was contacted by Bob Ogle, Associate Professor for the Historic Preservation Program at Colorado Mountain College (CMC) in Leadville to see if I would be willing to participate in an educational venue which included teaching a two-week course to students and volunteers on adobe preservation/restoration that was scheduled in July of this year (2007).
Bob’s timing could not have been better as I was indeed available for the time he requested. The project I was going to be associated with was the only known adobe building in all of Lake County, CO known as “The Clarion Hotel.” This distinction in itself makes this building worthy of attention, and with it being historically significant to the area only adds to the value of the property.
The Clarion Hotel was built in Twin Lakes circa 1880. For its age it is in remarkably good condition. Built out of unstabilized mud adobe with a layer of lime-based stucco applied over it, I was stunned at just how well this structure had held up in the harsh Colorado winters for over 130 years. My job was to teach the students and volunteers condition assessment (why the adobe portion of the building was in the current shape that it was in, particularly the areas in need of repair or restoration), material analysis, repair techniques, hands on training and stucco/faux finishes. We built mock-up walls out of 8″x8″x16″ concrete blocks where the students and volunteers practiced applying stucco and texture techniques.
Twin Lakes, the tiny town where the Clarion Hotel was located, is a beautiful place. The Lakes from which the town derives its name is stunning. Coming through and over the hills to reach the area presents a view at one point that can be considered breathtaking. A natural stream runs right next to the Clarion Hotel and helps feed Twin Lakes.
I met many wonderful people through Bob Ogle’s program. CMC partners with many different trades people, government agencies and organizations in training their students in Historic Preservation. I worked closely not only with Bob himself, but many of his students, Forest Service personnel, and other volunteers from across the United States.
(Click on each photo to enlarge)
Photo 1 above: This is the scenic back yard view of the Clarion Hotel, just steps from the building, with snow on the peaks even in the month of July.
Photo 2 above: A picture of Twin Lakes, taken several miles from the Clarion Hotel.
Photo 3 above: A shot of the Timberline Campus of the Colorado Mountain College in Leadville. I stayed in the Residence Hall located just a little left of this angle.
Photo 4 above: This is what is believed to be a later addition added to the Clarion Hotel with some of the volunteers standing in front of it. Bob Ogle is standing in the foreground conducting an experiment on the paint covering the lime-based stucco (the blue squares are test patches).
Photo 5 and 6 above: The original portion of the Clarion Hotel showing the damage that the Blue Spruce pine trees are causing to the building. Photo 6 gives a better angle and view of the roots lifting up the sidewalk on this portion of the building. The roots were also causing the stucco to buckle away from the wall just underneath the boarded up window. The white that you see on the exposed adobe is what is believed to be a lime wash which what is thought covered the entire exterior of the building and preceded the stucco coating that was added later.
The Blue Spruce trees are magnificent and were planted all around the building. These type of pines are rare for this area in Colorado. When first planted perhaps a hundred years ago, they were small and caused no damage. Now, they are threatening the health of this historic structure and the Forest Service is planning on cutting them down. As can be imagined, this is causing some controversy, but the sad reality is that if the trees are allowed to stay, the building will continue to suffer irreparable harm. This is a perfect example of not thinking ahead and stands as a warning to all of us who plant trees too close to our houses. Trees can grow huge, so plant them far away from your house.
Photo 7 above: Some of the volunteers and Forest Service personnel posing for a group shot at Cabin Cove in Twin Lakes. Cabin Cove is a cabin owned by the Forest Service where much of the planning and staging occurred for the preservation work that was done in the area. I am kneeling down in the first row, far left.