Museum of Northwest Colorado: A barn story
Before the turn of the 20th century, early Craig settler William Rose was living on his homestead near the intersection of Washington and Main (now East Victory Way) streets in Craig. In 1910, he built a large barn at the edge of town that towered above the landscape of the tiny frontier village. Painted a glistening white, the barn sported a large, hand-lettered sign visible to all passing by: “Hay for Sale.”
The years changed the town’s landscape, and as the town grew, the barn became lost among church spires, two-storied homes and encroaching business buildings. Before long, instead of being at the edge of town, the barn was encircled by numerous homes, and by the 1970s, even a small apartment complex. As its functionality decreased in terms of agricultural use, the barn fell into disrepair, taking on a rather dismal and unkempt look.
In the mid-1970s, schoolteacher Emilyn Young, whose family then owned the barn, undertook to save it for its historical importance. The local Arts and Humanities Council planned for the building to be used as a community center, designating it as a multi-use Cultural Arts Center. Locally referred to as the Luttrell Barn, the structure was moved from its original location to a new home near the county fairgrounds. A group of students who were part of the WORK program at the high school gave hours of labor to repair the building, as did numerous community members.
After repair and restoration work was completed, the barn became a popular venue for many community and private events. Art shows, dramatic productions, dances, cowboy poetry readings, weddings and parties of all types were held at the barn, and there usually was quite a rush to get on the building’s full calendar. As the years again passed, the barn lost its popularity and once more fell into disuse. Today the barn is in need of extensive repairs, and a committee has convened to see whether it is feasible to once again save it from destruction.
Regardless of the barn’s future, the Museum of Northwest Colorado would love to hear of any events that you might have hosted or attended at the barn. Staff want to document photos of the barn in use and the events that were hosted there. If you have any old photos, posters, invitations and memories of the Luttrell Barn, please call museum staff at 970-824-6360 so they can get the information documented for historical purposes.
Mary Pat Dunn is the registrar for the Museum of Northwest Colorado.
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