Alamosa Guard Station, CO 2019
A prime location near the entrance to an historic mountain pass that has served travelers since ancient times.
PROJECT PARTNER: Rio Grande National Forest
SESSION DATES: July 7-12 | July 14-19 | July 21-26
LOCATION: Nestled in among forests and canyons of south-central Colorado, this project site is about 90 minutes west of Great Sand Dunes National Park. We will be camping in a meadow adjacent to the jobsite.
HistoriCorps does not charge for its volunteering projects. The majority of project costs are covered by our project partners and grants, but as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, HistoriCorps relies on donations to continue engaging volunteers to save significant historical sites across America for generations to come. Your donation of any amount will make an incredible difference! Increase your impact – make a generous gift today.
Project Site Description & History
The Alamosa Guard Station was the USFS District Headquarters from 1908-1948, and is now part of the Conejos Peak Ranger District. This building is particularly significant as it was built in the same year the Rio Grande National Forest was established, and unique in that it was constructed prior to the implementation of standardized USFS building designs. This area of Colorado offers an incredible diversity of environments – from the Great Sand Dunes, to barely-hidden alpine lakes, to peaceful Rocky Mountain forests. The Rio Grande National Forest shares of the district,
The Conejos River drainage basin and the San Luis Valley have had a long and colorful history. The history of the Conejos peak Ranger District is interwoven with that of the San Luis Valley because the people setting in the valley depended upon the surrounding mountains for much of their food, clothing, and shelter. Seeking out the many historic features that lie scattered over the District and adjacent land can be an exciting and enjoyable activity, lending an understanding of the area’s rich cultural background. Some of the most notable historic sites are Colorado’s oldest church in the town of Conejos, a stockade commemorating the Zebulon Pike expedition, and Toltec Scenic Railroad.
The Alamosa River carves a path through the Rocky Mountains, providing a natural route up and over the Continental Divide that has been in use since ancient times. According to the USFS, in more recent centuries, the route has served as a “‘road to the California gold fields’; a U.S. Army wagon road; the miners’ freighting road; in 1910, a transcontinental telephone route; in 1911, a proposed transcontinental road.”
Additionally, the landscape’s geography provides natural routes to other areas we still celebrate today, including the healing hot springs of Pagosa Springs, CO. Adventurous hikers will enjoy trekking up to high alpine lakes in this region, remnants of ice caps during the Ice Age.
Volunteers joined this HistoriCorps project to bring the historic Guard Station back to public service! Our interesting and varied scope of work went a long way toward making this building ready for occupancy again.
Scope of Work
Volunteers worked alongside expert field staff to learn the skills necessary to undertake and accomplish this significant rehabilitation project. Prior to volunteers arriving onsite, the Southwest Conservation Corps re-roofed buildings onsite and rehabilitate a brick chimney.
- Rehabilitate two porches including framing, stairs, flooring, and siding: 20%
- Rehabilitate exterior log walls, replacing daubing as necessary: 10%
- Rehabilitate broken/deteriorated windows and doors: 20%
- Reframe, panel, and paint interior walls: 30%
- Rehabilitate flooring: 10%
- Build and install kitchen counter & cabinets: 10%
Alamosa Guard Station on a fine summer day
This lovely building is ready for some work so it can be reopened for occupation!
The Alamosa Guard Station in 1922.
Great Sand Dunes National Park is just east of the project site. Make sure to visit this unique environment while you’re in the area!
Save time for a visit to the relaxing hot springs in nearby Pagosa!