Mancos grain elevator makes endangered list

courtesy photo

The Kennedy/Mancos grain elevator is owned by Gary Kennedy, who bought it in 1960. He said it was built in 1935 and used for five years. Linda Towle, president of the Cortez Historic Preservation board, has been working on getting the property on this list. Kennedy said he hopes the designation will help to raised funds for its restoration.

Journal Staff report

Colorado Preservation, Inc. announced this week that five sites have been selected for Colorado's 2013 Most Endangered Places list.

The list included one local site: The Kennedy/Mancos Grain Elevator.

More than 30 historic sites were nominated for the 2013 list. The five selected include: Cranmer Park/Sundial Plaza in Denver; Fort Lyon in Las Animas in Bent County, Homesteading Sites of Escalante Canyon in Delta County; the Hotchkiss Barn in Delta County; and the Kennedy/Mancos Grain Elevator in Montezuma County.

The Mancos Grain Elevator was built in 1934 by Grady Clampitt. Clampitt and a bordering farmer grew dryland wheat in fields bordering Mesa Verde National Park on the southeast side. Those same fields are used to grow dryland wheat today.

The elevator was put in use upon completion and remained in use for an indeterminate number of the years following Clampitt's retirement. With the farm no longer in use, the Kennedy/Mancos Grain Elevator is currently being used as a storage unit for family belongings. The elevator is in a prominent location highly visible from Highway 160, and is considered a landmark. Although agriculture still plays a large role in the economy of the Mancos Valley, there are few structures that show the historic heritage of farming that once made the valley famous. Today ranching and irrigated hay production have replaced dryland grain crops.

Few examples of this particular unique workmanship are in place anywhere in Montezuma County. The Kennedy/Mancos Grain Elevator exemplifies some of the issues facing grain elevators across the state. Unfortunately, the grain elevator is deteriorating, due to a leaking roof and drainage issues, causing portions construction to fail.

"We have selected five diverse but very significant sites this year that need special help," said Rachel Parris, director of the Endangered Places Program. "These are the special places that define our communities and form the foundation for our collective identity as Coloradans in the future. Colorado Preservation, Inc. devotes staff time and resources to raise funds and rally concerned citizens so that listed sites can be saved."

Colorado's Most Endangered Places Program involves, to date, 96 historic resources across the state. The program has a wide reach, with sites located in 47 of the 64 counties. Of the 96 sites that have been named to the list since its inception, 32 have been designated as saved, 41 are in progress, 18 remain on alert and five sites have been lost.

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