RBC I The Coal Creek School on County Road 6 was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Colorado State Register of Historic Properties on July 18.
In 1884, Coal Creek School, the first rural school in the area, was started in a log cabin about a half-mile east of where the present school is located. In 1892, the present Coal Creek School was built and remains the oldest rural school in Rio Blanco County still standing on its original site.
Rio Blanco County Historical Society plans to preserve and restore this historic one-room schoolhouse to its 1892 original appearance. It will be used as an educational and interpretive center for members of our community and surrounding areas as well as tourists.
“We have one of the wonderful historic rural schools (the Buford School) restored and take pride in maintaining it and developing friendship in our community,” said Jeanne Horne, president of the WRCA. “To carry on the traditions of the White River Valley pioneers of dancing, box socials and helping each other, we are inviting everyone to a Dessert Box Social and Dance at the Buford School on Aug. 30 from 5 to 9 p.m.”
The dessert auction will go toward the historic preservation of the Coal Creek School.
Entertainment will be provided by Dave Main and band along with Dan Seely to call the square dancing and Bryce Purkey to auction the donated desserts. The three have volunteered their musical talent and skills to make this benefit a success.
Hamburgers and hot dogs will be served free of charge with donations accepted to defray costs and to help maintain the Buford School.
“Anyone is welcome to bring their best dessert for auction and bid on a dessert,” Horne said, “But, most of all, be prepared to have some great fun.”
The National Register of Historical Places is the official federal listing of places significant in American history. Authorized under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Register is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate and protect our historic and archeological resources. The National Parks Service provides overall program administration.
The Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (OAHP) in History Colorado and the Colorado Historical Society administer the register in Colorado. OAHP assists property owners in listing Colorado’s most historical and architecturally significant buildings, structures and sites in the National Register of Historic Places and the Colorado State Register of Historic Properties.
Properties listed in the National or State registers may be eligible for investment tax credits or grants from the State Historical Fund, another program of History Colorado. The OAHP staff is available to assist with the initial assessments of eligibility and to provide guidance in the completion of Register nominations.
The Rio Blanco Rural School Research Project Committee (3Rs), a part of the Rio Blanco County Historical Society, just completed a Historic Structure Assessment, which was funded 100 percent by History Colorado as the first part of preserving and restoring Coal Creek School.
Restoration of Coal Creek School will be done in two phases.The first phase involves reinforcing and weather-proofing repairs to the exterior to prevent any more deterioration. The stone walls and roof will be restored to their original beauty.
Phase 2 includes windows, doors, the interior and reconstruction of the unique belfry.
History Colorado’s State Historical Funds awards grants to fund up to 75 percent of the work, but donations and fundraising events are needed to start the project, Horne said.
Donations designated for the Coal Creek School Project may be made to the Rio Blanco County Historical Society and left at the White River Museum in Meeker.
“History Colorado has been instrumental in helping our 3Rs group advance in our goal to see Coal Creek School come alive again as an educational and interpretive part of Rio Blanco County history,” Horne said.