The River Walk will incorporate the serene aspects of the Middle Fork of the South Platte with historical and educational signage connected with a combination boardwalk and graveled trail. Mining equipment will be put on display to relate the mining heritage of Alma.
Existing facilities adjacent to the Riverwalk property include the Town park and playground, bandstand, Town hall and community center and the historic library. These facilities have been supported by previous successful GOCO grant awards and continued upkeep by Town funding and volunteer support. The Riverwalk project enhances and expands what the Town of Alma and GOCO have already invested in.
This effort establishes a Riverwalk Trail along the Middle Fork of the South Platte River, including a main trail, dock viewing areas, two trailheads, access to various parking areas throughout Town, and interpretive signage. Primary purposes of the project are to provide a beautiful recreational/educational outdoor experience for residents and visitors and to protect the surrounding riparian habitat by confining pedestrian use to the constructed trail areas. The proposed trail extends approximately 1,800 linear feet, of which 200 ft would be boardwalk constructed of pressure treated lumber. The remaining portion of the trail will be constructed of compacted gravel and crusher fines donated by the adjacent historic placer mine. The path allows viewers to be a part of the wetland ecosystem without disturbing the habitat and creates passive and active activities for residents and visitors.
Proposed uses focus primarily on walking, fishing, picnicking, and quiet enjoyment of the surrounding idyllic area. The trail design includes designated picnic areas on the trail and benches to provide views of the natural beauty of the river valley. This project should attract more tourists, add to business revenues, and increase the tax base for the town and the state.
The primary objective of this project is to preserve this beautiful natural area while allowing for sustainable access for all ages and abilities. To accomplish this, we are currently in the design phase for a 0.5 mile ADA accessible riverwalk trail. We received a grant from Colorado Parks and Wildlife Non-Motorized Trail program for this planning phase and as part of that funding we have engaged Southwest Conservation Corps to assist in the design of the trail to ensure a smooth transition from concept to construction. The next phase of the project are to hire youth corps crews to fully construct the trail with a variety of materials including donated crusher fine gravel and boardwalk. There are sections of the trail where the crews will have to build small boulder retaining walls, boardwalk trails, small boardwalk bridges, and platforms. Additionally, a saw crew will be needed to clear portions of the trail that pass through forested portions of the Riverwalk property.
One of the most treasured historic buildings in Alma was restored in the fall of 2004, thanks to efforts by the Alma Foundation, Town of Alma, and generous grants from the Colorado Historical Foundation and Park County Historic Preservation Advisory Commission.
The little stone building on Main St. was built in 1936 by Alma volunteers. Some of the stone is believed to be from a historic structure owned by the Tabors in the Buckskin Joe town site. It is on the state register of historic properties. Although often referred to as the “stone church,” the building has been used for a variety of functions including parties, meetings, weddings, funerals and more.
Scheuber + Darden and Image Builders were hired to perform the restoration work. The building is owned by the Town of Alma and serves a variety of functions as a public facility. A restroom has been added and a small kitchen is planned, as well as eventual plans for a finished basement.
The historic building is available to rent for private parties, weddings and other gatherings. We’d greatly appreciate any old photos or stories you have about events that took place here.
History: The first individuals that came to Alma in the 1870’s were tenacious people with dreams of making a better life for themselves and their families. Built in 1871, the Clesson Cabin was one of the first permanent residences in Alma, reflecting the spirit of the town’s first settlers. The cabin is significant as an early example of the type of buildings found in Alma during its early mining era, as most of these early buildings did not survive the times or the many fires. It is an example of the log buildings prevalent during the late 19th century in Alma. From the early 1900s, the building was home to the Clesson family, although the Clessons never owned the property. It was designated as a Park County Historic Landmark in 2005.
Information on the history of the Ladies Aid Building: alma_walking_tour/index.html#tour15
Now known as the Alma Ladies Aid Hall, this building began as the office building and scale house for the Fanny Barrett Mining Association. The manufacturing facility of the Fanny Barrett Smelting Works, located to the north of the office, began operations in 1880 but closed shortly afterward. Oral histories claim the building later served as offices for the Moose Mining Co. and the Dolly Varden Mine, with the scale house continuing to weigh the burros and wagons employed to transport ore for many years.
The Alma Ladies Aid Society acquired the building in the late 1910s or 1920s. Created in 1894, the Ladies’ Aid Society of the Christian Church “…visited the sick, pieced quilts, made bonnets and aprons to sell, sewed carpet rags, hemmed tea towels, tacked comforters, and aided specific church members who needed help.” Locals recall the ladies hosting dances and box suppers in the building. Christmas plays, Halloween parties, birthdays, and funeral receptions were all housed under the roof of the former smelting office. While many fraternal organizations for men existed in the 19th and early 20th centuries, there were few outlets for women. The Ladies Aid Society provided a vehicle for community-minded ladies to serve the greater good of their communities through fundraising, outreach, and direct relief. The cultural spirit of the Alma Ladies Aid Society lives on in the community activities and events that take place in Alma today. The Alma Ladies Aid Hall is a Park County Local Historic Landmark.
The Paris Mill, a well-known and cherished historic mining mill near Alma was named one of Colorado’s Most Endangered Places in 2004 by Colorado Preservation Inc. The facility was built to stamp and crush gold ore during the mining boom of the late 1800’s. It was last used during the 1970’s by the Mount Bross Mining Company to re-process old mine waste piles.
“Among hundreds of properties and structures evaluated in a 1996 study of the region’s heritage resources, the Paris Mill was ranked as the highest preservation priority in South Park,” according to Gary Nichols, Park County Community Development Director. The Alma Foundation is working with South Park National Heritage Area, Colorado Preservation Inc. as well as numerous other organizations and individuals to save the Paris Mill, which is currently owned by Park County.