Lessons learned as old schoolhouse is renovated

GEORGETOWN – There's an effort underway to revive a 140-year-old schoolhouse in Georgetown, Colorado. It is currently owned by the Georgetown Trust, but for the last couple decades belonged to a private individual who filled it with all sorts of stuff – including dynamite.

The school was originally built in 1874 when Georgetown was a burgeoning mining camp, said Cynthia Neely, Executive Director of the Georgetown Trust.

People who lived in Georgetown during that time period decided to turn the building into a schoolhouse instead of a courthouse or a city hall building. According to Neely, building educational facilities were top priority at the time.

"It is probably the oldest brick school remaining in Colorado," Neely said.

The building continued to be used as a school until 1938. In 1946, it was sold to a private individual who turned it into a storage house and a machine shop. It operated that way for the next 60 years.

"The whole town embraced the project because they all sat there wondering what was in the school and for the next six to seven months they found out as we began to empty the school," said Bob Gibbs, with the Georgetown Trust.

Members of the Georgetown Trust said the building looked like something out of the show "Hoarders." It was filled with random items, including some dynamite.

When the owner of the building passed away in 2006, the Georgetown Trust swooped in and purchased it in 2007. Over the last seven years, more than a million dollars has been pumped into the building in an effort to turn it into a cultural center.

"With its great towers replaced the building is again an icon in the Georgetown Silver Plume National Landmark District," Neely said.

The Georgetown Trust is hoping to have the building completely renovated and ready for a grand opening in January 2015.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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