Update from the Save the GW Depots! Committee
You may not have heard much from the Loveland Historical Society on their efforts to save Loveland’s Great Western Depots on 10th and Monroe lately. Here's your chance to help with this worthy project. The seeming inactivity was due to time well spent on hiring an assessment of the buildings’ condition. KL&A, Inc., of Loveland, submitted their report that the buildings could be moved to a new foundation. Yea! The Loveland Historical Society (LHS) had raised over $2000 and its members voted to match it with another $2000 for this critical assessment.
KL&A suggested a crane to move the buildings, rather than a truck with I-beams. Only the engineers understand how this is less expensive, and LHS defers of course, to their expertise. More good news is the estimate of $93,000 to move the depots has now been cut almost in half.
LHS is very grateful to the current City of Loveland staff for their interest and invaluable support. Over the years, several attempts to save the GW Depots have stalled, including the valiant 2012 push by LHS, which culminated, when threatened with complete loss, in a last-ditch plan to give the buildings to a museum in Granby. Without the City’s support now, Loveland would have lost this important piece of our past.
Loveland’s 1901 Great Western Sugar factory was the first built on the east slope. The Great Western Railway was built in 1902, primarily to haul sugar beets to be processed. But it also did a spanking passenger business until 1927. Later in the 1980s limited tourist excursions were offered. Great Western Sugar Co. was the sole cause of our little town stepping up to become one of Colorado’s premier cities; it tripled our population and our economy during its first 10 years of operation. The sugar beet factory was closed in 1985, one of the last of many GW factories to do so. The only factory now operating is Fort Morgan’s.
A proposal will be taken before City Council next Spring to move the passenger and freight depots onto city property. The proposal is to move the depots a little to the south, where they will be incorporated into a planned Police and Courts complex. The City has proposed to take on the expense of a new foundation, and the buildings will be city property. Because the buildings will still be within their original context as part of the GW Factory, several grants will be available to restore and preserve this valuable piece of Loveland History. The City and LHS will together figure out a new use for the buildings.
The great push for fundraising is now into high gear to fund moving of the structures and abatement of hazardous materials. We need the financial help of concerned Lovelanders and will also will be seeking donations from outside the local area. Please send your donations to: Loveland Historical Society, P.O. Box 7311, Loveland, CO 80537, Memo: GW Depots. And then pat yourselves on the back for helping to save this valuable part of our Loveland history for your children and their children!