Saturday, November 8, 2008

Depot rescued from the torch

Having read a column that I wrote earlier about moving the railroad depot in Palmer Lake, Marianne Zagorski wrote and provided a interesting postscript to the story.
“In ’66 my family and I moved from the USAFA out to Palmer Lake and eventually attended a town meeting, date of which I do not recall. It is a coincidence you should say “fire was not the culprit” because it almost was. Toward the end of the meeting a reminder was given of past business. ‘Don’t forget – our volunteer fire department will brush up on their skills on (date) when the depot will be set fire. Everyone come.’
“Never shy, I jumped to my feet and had my say. In the interest of brevity, I will condense what ensued into: hostility, sharp words, disbelief and a final acquiescence in accepting my plan of putting it up for sale. ‘But remember, you only have two weeks, then we burn it. And you are limited to $100 – tops.’
Zagorski countered.
‘But why tie my hands? You already made it clear your funds are at a low ebb. I guarantee I can get you much more.’
“Yes sir.”
Zagorski said that they did have a good point about the dangerous condition of the building and how it would be expensive to rectify.
“But I knew my market and lost no time calling The Denver Post Sunday Empire section which also lost no time sending a reporter and photographer to meet me. I was aware of everything dealing with trains was high on their list of priorities. So on the earliest Sunday, there was a good photo and article on a full page.”
The article had the desired effect.
“Early in the morning the phone started ringing and continued for days. Of course, I had to accept the first caller for which I was truly sorry when the second caller was the moving force behind the opening of Woodmoor. He was offering really big money (as many did) if only I would let him have it. He wanted it for the narrow gauge tracks and train he was planning to run around his lake. Even though he never realized that idea, The Depot would have remained here.”
Thus, the depot was saved from the torch.
“I do not recall anything at all said to me by the Palmer Lake commission members when I handed over the check. Not then or later. But I had accomplished my goal.”


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