Old buildings await new life
HOMELAKE — Celebrating its 120th birthday July 3, The Colorado State Veterans Center (CSVC) was established in the San Luis Valley in 1889 and opened to residents in 1891-92.
The celebration begins at 10 a.m. Tuesday and will include presentations on the history of Homelake, a historical walking tour, museum tours and refreshments.
Beginning its existence as the Soldiers and Sailors Home, the center was built to provide a peaceful place for aging, displaced and disabled Civil War veterans.
At first, the residents were housed in one of two structures and treated in the hospital. Women were not allowed to live there.
In 1914, residences were added, patterned after military barracks, but providing privacy for married couples.
The cemetery was established in 1891 with the burial of Freeman Morris, a veteran of the Colorado Volunteers who fought Confederate troops at Glorieta Pass in New Mexico.
It is the final resting place for veterans of every one of the nation’s wars, up to and including the war in Iraq, it is the oldest veterans cemetery in Colorado and is centered by a monument built in 1912 and dedicated to veterans of the Civil and Spanish-American wars.
Although the first residential building and hospital were demolished in the early 1960s, the veterans center contains more than 80 structures, 52 of which are considered to be contributing to the State Historic Register.
Five buildings are listed individually.
The original dining room and kitchen building is now a growing museum and repository for military memorabilia.
In 2002, the Colorado General Assembly passed a statute to establish the CSVC as a repository for all unclaimed military memorabilia.
This, in addition to a considerable archive of military artifacts already collected, has supporters envisioning a significant public display.
The Veterans Center Museum currently houses memorabilia from veterans that fought in the Civil War, Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, and the Korean War.
Equipment used in the infirmary 60 years ago is also on display, along with historic images of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home.
Genealogy fans will be intrigued by the records on file for veterans from the Civil War.
The museum at Homelake will be open May through October
from 10 a.m to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Saturday’s hours are 1 to 3 p.m.
The old administration building will eventually become the CSVC museum.
For the complete article see the 06-27-2012 issue.
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