CREEDE - The historic privy on the south side of the old Creede Denver and Rio Grande Railroad Depot is in serious decline and requires immediate attention to ensure its survival. Thanks to a $5,000 grant from the El Pomar Foundation, and considerable financial assistance from the Mineral County Commission, however, help is on the way. Although additional funds are still needed, the Creede Historical Society (CHS) hopes to have the privy completely restored when the Creede Historical Museum opens on Memorial Day weekend in 2020. The restoration will not only save an important historical structure from Creede’s early Boom days, but also enhance the attractiveness of Basham Park for both residents and visitors alike.
The privy was state of the art in 1893 featuring louvered vents on both sides and a cupola vent on its shake shingled roof. There is a single opening on the men’s side, but the women’s side features a standard opening alongside a smaller opening for children’s use, making the privy a unique “three holer.” The Depot and the privy are both included in the Colorado registry of historic places.
The Creede Depot which currently houses the Creede Historical Museum, opened in early 1893 and was extensively renovated in 1999-2000. The privy adjacent to the Depot was also constructed in 1893 but was not restored as part of the Depot renovation. After 126 years of neglect the privy is no longer structurally secure and has become something of an eyesore in the otherwise revitalized Basham Park. The CHS has long recognized that significant action was necessary to save the privy and began efforts to secure restoration funds in 2017. The planned restoration will make every effort to retain the historic detail and appearance of the privy using as much salvageable materials as practical down to matching the exact paint color from the original construction. The restored privy will also feature attractive interpretive signage describing early Creede sanitation practices from a time when privies were commonly placed on bridges extending over Willow Creek.
Historically accurate restoration work is expensive, and the privy requires a nearly complete reconstruction. The CHS has secured most of the required funds but still needs to raise approximately $2,000 to complete the project. Anyone interested in helping preserve a unique piece of local history is encouraged to send their tax deductible donations to CHS, P.O. Box 608, Creede, CO 81130. Please add “Save The Privy” in the memo portion of your check.