Kemper Elementary School has been placed on the City’s Register of Historic Structures.
Since 2010, the city has surveyed 82 properties across the oldest sections of Cortez, and three-fourths of those buildings have met eligibility requirements for the local registry. The city council on Tuesday, Nov. 26, added both Kemper Elementary on Montezuma Avenue and the Heartpath House at 102 N. East Street onto the list.
Approved by a 4-1 measure, a $450,000 bond financed the new school following the return of GI’s from WWII. The 64,500 sq. ft. international style one-story brick schoolhouse was designed by Denver architect William F. Andrews.
Midway through construction, Kemper Elementary opened seven of its 15 classrooms in January 1958. The remaining classrooms, cafeteria and auditorium were completed that spring.
Passing away in 1955, the school was named for Ed Kemper, an area teacher for 38 years. The first principal was George Shelhamer.
A substantial addition extended the east wing of the school in 1987.
Constructed in 1943, the 2,600 sq. ft. turn of the century American bungalow Heartpath House is a one-and-a-half story stucco home with a gabled roof. It now houses medical office space.