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First News Spring 2006

The Future in Partnership with the Past
"Trinidad's Historic Downtown District"

   The future of the historic downtown district in Trinidad is looking bright. Beginning in the fall of 2005 and completed by March 2006, the city resurfaced a section of Main Street with concrete paved stones. The project included new sidewalks in addition to new traffic signals at Main and Commercial. Trees that were removed to allow for reconstruction are being replaced with new saplings this spring. But that’s not all that’s happening. Several historic buildings in the downtown area are undergoing restoration and renewal.

Downtown Trinidad's new street scene

   After seeing an ad for Trinidad in the Thrifty Nickel at a California realtor’s office, David Hulstine, a construction contractor, came to visit and fell in love with the town. In 1995, he and his wife Cindy decided to move to Trinidad from the Pacific coast, “to get out of the rat race, traffic, and smog”. He purchased two buildings on Plum Street, refurbished them and established David H. Construction in one of them. Last year he purchased the Joseph Malouff building, at 500-506 West Main Street, and renovated the second floor into apartments and the first floor into retail space. “I love old buildings and hate to see them destroyed. I pick the oldest, most dilapidated, run-down building I can find, go inside, walk through and basically imagine what it may have looked like a long time ago. I develop a vision of what a building could look like again, but even better. Many people prefer to tear down older buildings, but I say let them live on! They give us a glimpse of who we were, where we’re going, and possibly a glance into our future.”

The Joseph Maulouff Building

   Steve Larson, his wife Jamie, and daughter Stephanie were planning a move from California to Flagstaff, Arizona. But after reading an article about Trinidad in the newspaper, they decided to come and take a look in 2002. Upon arrival they were immediately charmed by the town. By 2005 they purchased the Jaffa Opera House building, at 100 West Main Street, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. It will take a lot of time, money and manpower but they plan to restore the building. Steve says, “If only the walls could talk! In the rafters of the building we’ve found many neat artifacts dating back to the 1920s: clothes, posters, receipts, etc. Someday we would like to put the items in a display case for viewing.”

Jamie, Steven, and Stephanie Larson on their 2005 visit to Colorado.

 The Jaffa Opera House  

   Lonnie Adkisson was born in Missouri. His wife Vibeke, originally from Denmark, was raised in Greeley, Colorado, and is retired from a medical supply company that specialized in rehab equipment for people with disabilities. Since the early 1990s, while living in Littleton, Colorado, they had been searching for a historic property in northern New Mexico or southern Colorado. In November 2004, after seeing a local real estate agent’s sign, they were shown the McCormick Building at 101 East Main Street. Several weeks later they purchased the building. By February 2005, they commissioned Gene Bonds, a local designer, to draft plans converting the second floor to include rooms for their residence and space for commercial use. According to the Adkissons, Bonds’ designs exceeded the original layout as rendered by architects I.H. and W.M Rapp.

The McCormick building at the corner of Main and Commercial Streets


Lonnie and Vibeke Adkisson

The beautifully decorated living room of the Adkissons' home

   Historic structures are important to a community’s history and Tom Shearman, owner of The Chronicle-News, says it’s one of the reasons he selected the Toltec building at 118 North Commercial Street in downtown Trinidad for renovation. “The building is just down the street from The Chronicle-News, and we were so pleased with the way the renovation of that building developed we just wanted to keep on going. It’s something that needs to happen. We’ve been successful in restoring old buildings in Lake Charles, Louisiana, our home base, and we thought this would be a good project for Trinidad since we're part of this community. Historical renovation costs more, but it works out over the long term.” Plans call for constructing ten apartments in the Toltec, in addition to three storefront retail spaces.

    Although this is only a sample of what is happening in Trinidad, the future is looking bright by maintaining the character of these buildings and preserving their past. We’ve all been witness to the exterior improvements downtown, but behind the scenes more is yet to come.

Chronicle-News owner Tom Shearman peers out a second story window of his newly acquired Toltec Hotel building


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