Sunday, February 11, 2018

Good Bones

Pueblo has suffered a series of setbacks since its apex at the turn of the 20th century. The great flood of 1921 nearly destroyed downtown Pueblo and 1,500 people lost their lives. And when the city’s steel mill closed in 1982 the knockout blow was delivered. As Pueblo’s biggest employer the closure left “Steel City” without its economic engine and with its future uncertain.

In its heyday the city boasted a vibrant downtown and seemed destined to become the capitol of Colorado. The bones of the once thriving city center remain but its stores and businesses are largely shuttered. The River Walk neighborhood along the banks of the Arkansas River is Pueblo’s attempt to create an arts and entertainment district, one that has potential to attract tourists and new residents to the city. That hasn't materialized but there's tremendous potential for it. We even mused about building a vital art community where low rents and empty space abound. But the leap of faith would be huge. Right now Pueblo is a languishing mill town where Olive Garden and Texas Roadhouse are considered upscale dining. I am such a snob.

Drawn as I am to urban downtowns, I've noticed Pueblo’s skyline each time I've driven I-25 to and from Denver. The Sangre de Cristo Arts Center in downtown Pueblo lured me off the freeway a couple of years when I stopped to see a stellar Ansel Adams exhibit and again two weeks ago for an opening. Combine a visit to the arts center with lunch at the redoubtable Shamrock Brewing Company for house made beers and hearty pub fare. Those are the makings of worthwhile afternoon. 

And while you're at it, take a stroll through the trove of late 19th century structures that fill the city. I love them and the signs that speak to halcyon days.


Blacks Crossing said...

Shooting the sky, landscapes with endless horizons, and buildings shot from the ground up is one of your great talents, Steve, and these photographs of Pueblo and its old but solid bones are wonderful. The history you provided of the city is great. Thanks for another excellent post!

Terry T. said...

Wow, didn't know a thing about the place. I don't think I've even ever been there. Guess I need to hit the road more. Thanks for an informative post. On my list now... The photos really show its ancient solid bones.

John Farnsworth said...

Lovely old homes on leafy streets, lots of empty, potential artists' loft spaces and a well supported, well run arts center, make Pueblo a town worth considering. If artists came, restaurants and other amenities would surely follow.

Speaking of bones, the next time you're up there, Steve, have Jim Richeson arrange a tour of the old steel mill. It is right up your photographic alley, and the wooden forms used in designing the molds for the molten steel are in themselves an art exhibit.

Great shots, Amigo!

Steve Immel said...

Thanks everybody. Johnnie, are you in Antigua? Rumor has it.

Anonymous said...

Such great potential in Pueblo. Wonderful photos!

John said...

Yes, I am in Antigua, loving being here, getting ready for Cuaresma and Semana Santa. Taking lots of photos, of course!

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