National Historic District presentation planned in Meeker Tuesday, March 20 | CraigDailyPress.com

National Historic District presentation planned in Meeker Tuesday, March 20

Craig Press staff report

Mountain Valley Bank, at 400 Main St. in Meeker is one of the many historic buildings in the town.

MEEKER — The town of Meeker is working toward designation of a National Historic District. Such designation provides international recognition and promotion of historically significant buildings and landmarks to increase heritage tourism and economic development, and on Tuesday, March 20, a consultant will present information about the district to town trustees.

The nomination of the Meeker downtown area as a National Historic District was endorsed by History Colorado, Office of  Archaeology and Historic Preservation, and was subsequently approved by the Colorado State Review Board on Jan. 19.  The nomination was then forwarded to the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, in Washington, D.C., for designation as a National Historic District, which is anticipated this spring.

The project is a collaborative effort between the Rio Blanco County Historical Society and the town of Meeker.

Meeker National Register Historic District consultant Carl McWilliams, owner of Cultural Resource Historians, will present to the Meeker Town Board of Trustees at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 20, at Meeker Town Hall, 345 Market St.

McWilliams has completed extensive research and documentation about the history of eligible contributing buildings within the proposed district.

The district would encompass both sides of Main Street and Park Avenue between Fourth and Eight Streets. It includes 52 buildings, 31 of which are contributing to the district, and 12 of which are additionally evaluated as individually contributing buildings. These include the original, circa 1880s, military cantonment barracks — now housing the White River Museum — Garrison, and Jensen Residence in the 500 block of Park Street. Existing buildings previously designated include the Meeker Hotel and the IOOF — Oddfellows building — now Mountain Valley Bank and the Hugus Block/A. Oldland Building.

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There are numerous other historic buildings outside the boundaries identified in a 2009 study by Susannah Reed Associates, and these may be eligible for designation in the National Register of Historic Places or the State Register of Historic Properties.

St. James Episcopal Church was designated in 1978, and the 1895 Coal Creek School was designated in 2014. There are about eight History Colorado Centennial farms/ranches designated in Rio Blanco County. Also listed is the Milk Creek Battlefield National Historic Park.

Following the presentation, McWilliams' history of historic buildings contributing to the Meeker National Register Historic District will be published on the Rio Blanco County Historical Society website and by History Colorado and the National Register of Historic Places for public access and research.

A History Colorado State Historical Fund Grant and a Freeman Fairfield Charitable Trust matching grant awarded in 2015 provided $28,000 to the town and Rio Blanco County Historical Society to fund the more-than two-year NHD extensive research and nomination project.

A grant application is being submitted by Rio Blanco County Historical Society to fund tasteful landmark signage and digital links depicting the colorful history of contributing buildings to further enhance the educational appeal for visitors.

For more information about the initiative, contact Robert Amick, National Historic District Task Force chair, at amick@colorado.edu or 970-274-6557.

If you go

Meeker National Historic District presentation by Carl McWilliams

When: 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, March 20
Where: Meeker Town Hall, 345 Market St.
Who: The public is encouraged to attend.

For more information contact Robert Amick, Nationa Historic District Task Force chair at amick@colorado.edu or 970 274-6557.