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Mancos Opera House Has New Owners

A Mancos couple has purchased the historic Mancos Opera House, and hopes to rehabilitate it for community use. Retired electrical engineer and historic preservation enthusiast Philip Walters told KSJD he and his wife Linda purchased the building about two weeks ago from local VFW post #5231, for a price of $195,000.

 

The Opera House was built in 1910, and hosted many theatrical and musical performances in its early days. The VFW purchased the venue in 1955, and its use dropped in the 1960s and 1970s, though it has hosted occasional events throughout the years. Walters credited the VFW and various other community organizations for allowing the building to stay in the community.

 

But he also said many of the building’s facilities have not changed since its original construction.

 

“To 'restore' something would be to put it back like it was in 1910, with all the comforts of 1910,” Walters explained. “But then there’s 'rehabilitation,' which is to preserve its historic fabric, and to bring in modern features for code such as elevators and ADA [Americans With Disabilities Act] compliant restrooms-- and more restrooms in general. ” (He said the building currently has only four toilets.)

 

In the future, Walters says he hopes a local nonprofit can manage and operate the venue, and that the Mancos Creative District has already expressed interest. But more immediately, he said plans to fix some roof leaks and heating problems so the building can make it through the winter.

 

 

CORRECTION: A previous version of the story listed the VFW post as #5238, but the correct number is 5231. 

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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