The Ballantine family has transferred ownership of the 100-plus-year-old Mancos Times building to the nonprofit Mancos Common Press.
Betsy Harrison, secretary/treasurer of The Mancos Common Press, said she hopes the building becomes a center to learn the art of printmaking.
"This is fantastic," Harrison said.
The building is appraised at $40,000 and contains a treasure of printing relics, including a flatbed press made in the early 1900s.
"We have yet to get appraisal on the contents," Harrison said. "The building and the contents have been there together since 1910. The historical value is not just the building, but the whole package."
Harrison said The Mancos Common Press is awaiting word on a Colorado Historical Society grant to restore the building and get the press running again.
Richard Ballantine said his family was happy to transfer the building over to The Mancos Common Press.
"I think this is a very energetic group, and I think it is quite appropriate for a former newspaper building to be used in a graphic arts way," Ballantine said. "Art has always been a form of communication, and this is an extension of the Times."
It's difficult to put a price on the history inside the building. Thankfully, Ballantine said, the owner in 1968 didn't sent the press to scrap.
"The preserving began in the spring of 1968, and the owner at the time just simply covered the press up," Ballantine said. "It really sat since 1968 just waiting to emerge again in a different role."
The Cranston press is sought after by graphic artists, Ballantine said and The Mancos Common Press is teaming up with the University of Pennsylvania.
"This press is in beautiful shape," Ballantine said.
The entire restoration project is expected to cost $248,000. Local donations, grants and a Kickstarter campaign will hopefully do the trick, Harrison said.
"The first phase is just to get the building restored," she said.
Harrison said she hopes the grant will be announced in February and renovation can start in late spring or early summer. Graphic arts classes could start by 2016.
Suzy Meyer worked as the editor of the Mancos Times from 1992 to 1995 and felt honored to work in the historic building.
"I felt really privileged to work in that building. I felt the weight of the history there. So I am really pleased the Ballantine family has made it possible for the building and the press to be used again for printing," she said.
Meyer said it was a pleasure to see the trays of old lead type and lead and wooden blocks with historical figures etched on them.
"I love that they are preserving that equipment, because it is such an important part of the history of Mancos," Meyer said. "Newspapers were tremendously important to small communities."
"A newspaper is the record of what is happening in its community, so I am glad the press is still going to be part of the permanent record," Meyer said. "Presses like this are the reason the print media are called the press."