The tough economic times have hit many hard -- and now they're even taking their toll on Grand Junction history. The 103-year-old Grand Junction Train Depot is now in foreclosure, and a local preservation group is keeping hopes alive that someone will buy it and restore it to its former glory.
Mesa County Public Trustee Paul Brown says he has many fond memories of the old train depot -- a place he's gone through many times to catch the train to Denver.
"It played such a huge role, not only in the development of Grand Junction, but of the whole west," said Brown. "You don't have to look at it very long to realize just what we've got here."
But in recent years, all he and other have got is a sad story. The depot closed in the mid 80's and began to deteriorate. It was purchased but never fixed or renovated, and put back up for sale. And now --
"The present owners have run into financial trouble and have not been keeping up with the payments," said Brown. "So it's also in foreclosure."
Last year, when the "For Sale" sign went up, Brown and others formed Friends of the Depot -- a group dedicated to restoring the building and attracting a new buyer.
"There is only one other depot in the State of Colorado that can even compare to this," said Kathy Jordan, a member of Friends of the Depot. "And it's Union Station in Denver. So we do have a gem here."
Over the past year, the group has been able to raise $2,000 for their cause and secure a $20,000 grant to get a structural analysis of the building done. They say with the depot likely to go to auction in December, they're more determined than ever to complete their mission.
"We're gonna get it done one way or another," said Brown.
They just hope they can help whoever does buy the depot realize its importance.
"It would be great to be able to have Amtrak back in here," said Jordan. "Also maybe a museum."
Because as Trustee, Brown would have to handle the foreclosure, he has declared a conflict of interest and transferred it to Garfield County.