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Historic walking tours offered in Cortez

A historic walking tour down Main Street in Cortez includes stories about the Wilson building, which was built in 1889. Now it’s home to The Journal. (Courtesy photo)
A sneak peak of the new Montezuma Heritage Museum also featured

To celebrate Cortez Historic Preservation Day May 21, there will be free walking tours of the “10 Buildings That Made Cortez History” on Main Street.

One-hour tours are planned 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and start at the Cortez Cultural Center, 25 N. Market St.

An updated version of the Main Street Walking Tour brochure will be available.

The public also is invited to a sneak preview of the new Montezuma Heritage Museum at 35 S. Chestnut St. from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The museum is installing the exhibits and hopes to open in the fall.

To sign up for a walking tour, call the Cultural Center at 970-565-1151 to reserve a spot. Reservations are not needed to visit the museum.

Historic buildings on the tour include the old Montezuma Valley Bank, now the KSJD/Sunflower Theater; the Wilson Building; old Post Office, now The Farm; Marshal Clucas building, now Zu Gallery; Standard Oil, now Citizen’s State Bank; Duff Mercantile building and the original Monteuma County Courthouse.

“People will hear stories about the earlier days in Cortez related to buildings that date from the 1880s to the 1950s,” said Linda Towle, vice chair of the Cortez Historic Preservation board. “Tour participants are encouraged to ask questions and share their memories of these historic buildings. It’s a lot of fun.”

Share your best stories to the new county museum, which is collecting them to share with the community, she said.

Some walking tour teasers include: learning where the historic Cannonball bus stop was, which restaurant was formerly a beauty shop, where kids hung out at a classic soda stand, and who built the Wilson building with stone quarried from Hartman Draw.

The 12th annual Cortez Historic Preservation Day is sponsored by the Cortez Historic Preservation Board in cooperation with the Cortez Cultural Center, the Montezuma County Historical Society, the Cortez Retail Enhancement Association and the Colorado Welcome Center.

The Cortez Historic Preservation Board was formed in 1996. The board advises City Council on matters pertaining to historic preservation within the city boundaries. The board maintains a city Register of Historic Structures, Sites, Districts and Signs.