Craig Armory celebrates centennial birthday |

Craig Armory celebrates centennial birthday

This photo, taken by Photographer George Welch in 1924, depicts the State Armory at 590 Yampa Ave. now the Museum of NW Colorado. The radio towers were added to the building late in 1922. The armory became the only location in Northwest Colorado that could send and receive radio transmissions. The towers did not stay on the building for many years.
Courtesy Museum of Northwest Colorado / For the Craig Press

One of Craig’s most iconic and historic buildings will celebrate its 100th birthday next week, prompting museum staff and supporters to gather on Tuesday to acknowledge the building’s importance to the community.

Included in the celebration is a silent auction, and money from those sales will go toward the armory’s upkeep. Local businesses and community members have donated items to go into the auction, as well as commemorative centennial coins and other items from the museum.

Dan Davidson, director of the Museum of Northwest Colorado, said that the armory represents a lot of different memories to the people of Craig. Over the past century, it has served as a military armory, basketball gym, dance venue, the first pool and other significant roles in the Craig community. Davidson said he hopes that the building can be kept up and running for the public for many years to come.

“What we try to do is preserve the items in the museum but also the stories of the people who have used this building over the years,” Davidson said. “It was Craig’s basketball gym. People graduated out of it. The guard unit was part of the defense of the country during WWII, and they were here. Even as I’m standing here, I’m reminded that they used it for boxing a lot.”

Tuesday’s event is kicking off a new exhibit and future events for the museum, as well. This year, museum attendance and gift shop income have more than doubled from 2020, and 65% of the museum’s visitors have been from outside of Moffat County. More than just raising money, Davidson said he wants community members to come by and remember what the building means to them.

“It’s just to acknowledge the importance and history of the building,” he said. “We’ve had some people come in saying they had their first kisses here when they had dances here. A woman came in who played basketball here in the 20s and mentioned how she can’t play there anymore since we’ve got the carpeting. I had to sign up for the draft here. Nothing ever happened, but that stuck with me.”

Davidson said he has spent a lot of his time over the past 30 years at the armory and he hopes to continue to preserve it for generations to come.

“I’m big on historic preservations,” he said. “It’s not just keeping the building up and running. “It’s what keeps the feel of a community.”

The museum’s fundraiser event will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, and will also feature a history presentation of the building’s 100-year tenure starting at 6 p.m..

“We don’t really have a goal for the fundraiser,” Davidson said. “We just want to let people enjoy what we’ve got here. What we really want to do is let it be a celebration of the building. If people want to come with stories, it would be fun to see what everyone remembers about it.”

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