During their first meeting in the new City Hall, the Cortez Historic Preservation Board announced that another local historical society also has a new home.
Dale Davidson and Patricia Lacey told the board that the Lakeview Grange has offered to let the Montezuma Historical Society turn its unused building in Cortez into a headquarters. Ever since the county museum closed in 1967, the society’s collection of artifacts and documents from Montezuma’s past has been stored in several different locations, including the old City Hall. Now that they’ve been forced to move out of that space, the society hopes to renovate the grange building as a central storage facility and headquarters.
The board gathered Wednesday in the “Mesa Verde” room of the newly opened City Hall on 125 E. Roger Smith Avenue, becoming the first city board to hold a public meeting there.
Lacey, who represents the Historical Society on the Historic Preservation Board, said the owners of the Lakeview Grange building offered to let the society use it as a museum, but that isn’t their greatest need right now.
“I don’t know that we actually see it as a museum as much as a headquarters for the Historical Society,” he said.
The Grange is on County Road M near Lakeview Elementary School. City planner Tracie Hughes said it has only been used to store old desks and other equipment for several years. The Historical Society toured the building at the end of February and came up with a tentative budget for the repairs and cleaning they would need to do before they move in.
But board member Mitchell Toms warned that an old building like the Lakeview Grange could have mice, which could put tenants at risk for hantavirus.
“I understand what you all are doing, which is a great idea,” Toms said. “I’m just sharing with you, I have a lot of friends over there, and I know they like to clean.”
Lacey said the Historical Society had discussed that possibility, and they plan to get a professional cleaning service to clear out all possible infestations. Davidson said the society is just waiting to sign a formal agreement with the grange before they take possession of the building.
If the building works out as well as they hope, it would be a big step forward for the Historical Society, Davidson said.
“We wouldn’t be spread out all over town trying to figure out what we had and what we didn’t have and what was missing,” he said. “What a concept.”
There’s even a possibility that the nearby school building could become a museum site in the future, although Davidson said no decisions have been made to that effect yet.
During their meeting, the board also discussed the posters for their Historic Preservation Month event, which vice president Linda Towle said should be finished by April, and the historic displays they plan to put up in City Hall, which will include some artifacts from the Historical Society. The board had planned to tour the new building as part of their first meeting there, but decided to wait for the official grand opening celebration on March 17.