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Historian Describes How Cortez and Its Main Street Have Changed Over the Years

The Cortez Main Street has seen some significant changes over the course of the town’s history. Businesses have come and gone, streets have been paved and repaved, and buildings have been built and rebuilt. But many of the buildings on Main Street are over 60 years old.

To document the buildings and their history, the City of Cortez hired historical preservation consultant Dr. Steven Mehls. This year he has finished a study of the buildings on the south side of Main Street, within in the town’s original boundary. That’s approximately between Slavens Hardware Store and the old Canyon Motors building, which now holds the Medicine Man dispensary.

KSJD’s Austin Cope talked with Mehls to learn more about the changes Main Street-- and the entire town-- have seen over the years.

Austin Cope is a former Morning Edition host for KSJD and now produces work on a freelance basis for the station. He grew up in Cortez and hosted a show on KSJD when he was 10 years old. After graduating from Montezuma-Cortez High School in 2010, he lived in Belgium, Ohio, Spain, northern Wyoming, and Himachal Pradesh, India before returning to the Cortez area. He has a degree in Politics from Oberlin College in Ohio.
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