LEADVILLE - Although it's nowhere near as old as the city itself, Leadville's big white Wall has plenty of history for locals.
The giant “We Love Leadville Great Living @ 10,200’” message painted on the Wall has been a gateway marker for the community for nearly 30 years.
So when it comes down the make room for a housing development, it'll be missed.
Julie Lundgren was among the group of people who originally painted the message in the late 80’s.
Since then, she’s repainted it a few times.
“One time they changed the L to a D, so it said ‘We Love Deadville,’” Lundgren said. “They erased part of the letters, so it said ‘We Love Advil.’ When a local kid was lost in the war in Iraq, somebody painted a broken heart through the heart. So, that was kind of sad.”
The Wall is about 180 feet wide and nine feet tall.
It’s hard to miss for drivers pulling into Leadville from the north.
Leadville’s Administrative Services Manager Sarah Dallas says the Wall has become a symbol for the city.
It stands in a blighted area of town that hasn’t been developed in more than 100 years.
“It’s hard up here,” Dallas said. “It’s gritty. It takes a lot of tenacity. Certainly on Google, you’re going to see hundreds of images of this sign.”
Like many other communities in Colorado, Lake County has seen demand for affordable housing outpace supply.
The 40 acres around the Wall will be used for a development called the Railyards at Leadville.
Developer John Lichtenegger says the Railyards will include affordable housing.
“It just would not work to keep the sign as it is today,” Lichtenegger said. “We hope to be able to slice sections out of it and save them.”
Lichtenegger says he could also work with the city to establish a new sign, just not as big.
A farewell gathering for the Wall is planned for Friday at 4 p.m. at Ice Palace Park.
Organizers say live music, food and drinks will be provided.
Individual and groups photos at the wall are planned for between 6 and 6:30 p.m.
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