Celebrate Historic Preservation Month in Downtown Rock Springs
ROCK SPRINGS — May is National Historic Preservation Month and the community is invited to celebrate it in Downtown Rock Springs. The Rock Springs Main Street/Urban Renewal Agency (URA) are hosting several events and activities to draw attention to our local historic preservation efforts.
One such event is an Architectural Scavenger Hunt that will run the month of May. Scavenger hunt forms can be picked up at the office, 603 South Main Street, or downloaded from DowntownRS.com. Participants can return completed hunts to the URA office for a chance for a gift and chance at a grand prize.
Locals and visitors can go on a guided historic preservation tour in Downtown Rock Springs with local historian, Dave Tate, Tuesday, May 18, 4 pm. The tour will begin at the Rock Springs Historical Museum.
Historic preservation was put on hold due to COVID-19 in hundreds of community.
“As the pandemic begins to ease, I believe historic preservation, like everything else, will begin again,” Tate said. “Just look at the progress being made on the First Security Bank building!”
According to Tate, he believes historic preservation is important in Downtown Rock Springs because it shows everyone the history of our community and the people that lived here before us.
“It helps tie us to our past,” Tate pointed out. “Plus, many of our Downtown buildings are architecturally significant and deserve to be preserved for that reason alone.”
Tate said there are benefits of historic preservation.
“It give you a sense of place,” he mentioned. “Also, on the economic side, preservation has shown to have a great return on investment.”
Tate added, “Many times, it is cheaper to actually restore a building than to build a new one.”
There are ways our community can be involved in historic preservation.
“The main thing the community can do is to pay attention to things that are happening with historic buildings in the Downtown area and be willing to speak up to protect Historic Downtown Rock Springs,” Tate expressed.
“Many times one hears complaints about a building either being abandoned or demolished after the fact – this was certainly true in the case of East Junior High (old high school),” he shared. “Many people were upset after the decision to demolish was made but very few actually said anything in the months leading up to that decision.”
Tate would like to see the community be more vigilant about the historic buildings in Rock Springs all the time.
“I think the best way for the community to become involved is to start paying attention to our historic Downtown and appreciate how unique it is – historically and architecturally,” Tate suggested. “They also can contact the Rock Springs Historic Preservation Commission (a committee of the City of Rock Springs) or the National Trust for Historic Preservation if they want to become even more involved.”
Tate has a Master’s in Historic Preservation.
“I have always been extremely interested in history so that was my starting point,” he revealed. “I then started to become interested in architecture and so the two just go together.”
Tate concluded by saying, “It is so exciting to see work happening on the First Security Bank building after all the stops and starts over the years. First Security is the perfect example that preservation doesn’t happen overnight. Many times, it takes years to finally get a project to fruition – but it is worth it!”
Preservation Month began as National Preservation Week in 1973. In 2005, the National Trust extended the celebration to the entire month of May and declared it Preservation Month to provide an even greater opportunity to celebrate the diverse and unique heritage of our country’s cities and states.
The Rock Springs Main Street/Urban Renewal Agency is charged with the redevelopment of Downtown Rock Springs. As part of their mission, there are three standing committees –Promotions, Business Development, and Arts & Culture. For more information on the program, contact the Rock Springs Main Street/URA at 307-352-1434 or visit their website at DowntownRS.com