Sunday, January 11, 2015

Building was once Gwillimville School

With much fanfare, the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce moved into the Highway 105 location in 1985, but the building itself has quite a storied history. It's been a bit transient.
According to a letter dated March 15, 1985, from long-time Monument historian Lucille Lavelett, the building has been bopping around Monument since perhaps as early as 1869.
"The C.E. (Christian Education) Building was once a one-room Gwillimville School. Gwillimville was once a small, thriving community five miles east of Monument on Highway 105. It was founded by Gwillim R. Gwillim in 1869."
Lavelett relates the following story:
"During a period of a few years, a dozen or more families had come from Wales and several from England, and settled in the community. Church services were held in the one-room Gwillimville School until the Gwillimville Church was built in 1893. This Church was built on the northwest corner of (Highway) 105 and Highway 83," wrote Lavelett.
"On Aug. 6, 1919, Monument School consolidated with three smaller districts which were Pring, three miles south of Monument, Husted, six miles south (Husted is now part of the United States Air Force Academy), and Stout, which was east of Husted. The following year, Gwillimville joined the new district (1920)," she wrote.
"It was in the late 1920s or early 1930s, Rev. R.J. Hassted, minister of the Presbyterian Church, and Earl Thompson moved the little white school into Monument and put it south of the Presbyterian Church to be used as a Sunday School and community services. To help the church, the Monument Homemakers Club in 1938, and 1939, paid for having ceiling and walls re-plastered and painted, built a new flue in the west end, bought a large coal circulator heater to heat the building and put linoleum in the kitchen area. The east end had a cook stove, sink and cupboards. Cook stove did not give enough heat to warm the building, so the new flue was built," Lavelett said.
"In the late 1940s, the church built the new kitchen and Sunday School room on the north side of the building. Also a rest room. The town, at that time, had natural gas, so a gas heater was installed," she said.
At the time of the 1985 move to its present location, Lavelett noted that this was third move for the old Gwillimville School.
"When it was built, its home was about one and a half miles north of (Highway) 105 where the children had to walk through a cattle pasture. Children were afraid of the cattle, so it was move close to 105. Moved then to Monument, and in 1985 to home of the Chamber of Commerce," according to historian Lavelett.
Then County Commissioner Frank Klotz and Chamber President Sandy Smith turned a spade-full of dirt in honor of the new building in February, and actual move took place in April of that year, reported the forerunner of the Tribune at the time. The chamber had been organized nine years prior to spearhead efforts to attract business and industry to the Tri-Lakes area.
The Chamber owns the building itself but not the land on which it is located (property of the Colorado Department of Transportation), and will be looking for a suitable tenant for their former location on Highway 105.
"I love this building," says current Chamber Executive Director Terri Hayes, "But we are just out of space."

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