Restoration of the pillars of POW Camp 202
By Historic Greeley, Inc
For 60 years this last vestige of the WWII prisoner of war camp West of Greeley stood only a few feet from the side of the road. In the early 2000s when the gatepost bases were threatened by the expansion of Highway 34, Historic Greeley rallied local government and private groups to move the masonry bases to a nearby highway pull-out and designate them to the Greeley Historic Register.
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So it’s ironic that, in this more protected location, one was severely damaged in December 2018 when a driver fell asleep at the wheel on Highway 34 and collided with the Eastern-most pillar. The driver was unharmed, but the pillar wasn’t so lucky. Following the accident, Historic Greeley applied for and was awarded funds through an emergency grant from the State Historical Fund (SHF) to repair the damaged base. The first step in the restoration process according to the SHF guidelines will be a mortar analysis of the existing mortar so that the restoration can match the materials originally used to maintain the historical integrity of the pillars. All repairs will be done to SHF guidelines. Colorado Department of Transportation, now the owner of the monuments, will be asked to add protective barriers around the site to protect them from further accidents. A mason is slated to begin repairs in May, or at least when overnight temperatures reach a consistent 30 degrees.
The Greeley City Council voted 7-0 at its meeting on April 2 to accept the recommendations of City staff and the Historic Preservation Commission to update the existing local ordinance. City staff proposed changes to the preservation code several months ago, most of them designed to streamline processes with the City’s current development code.
Members of the community contributed comments to the issue at a public meeting in February, and two groups, including Historic Greeley, submitted letters to the City Council. The local realtors’ association expressed concerns surrounding private property rights, preservation supporters spoke in support of the code, and Council voted to support the minor procedural changes proposed by staff but leave unchanged the majority of the existing ordinance.