That mystery building is a history building

Dear Johnnie: I’ve been wondering for years about the brick building with green trim on the west side of South Main by the railroad tracks at First Street. It appears to be well-maintained but gives no indication of what’s inside. Can you solve this mystery and tell us who owns the building and what it’s used for? — Just Curious

Dear Just Curious: I went over and knocked on the back door.

The woman who answered told me that the building is owned by the Longmont Museum and directed me to the museum’s curator of research, Erik Mason.

Knowing that the building was owned by the museum also led me to Times-Call archives, where I found that this question has been asked before, more than five years ago. The answer?

Frank Morgan, superintendent of Longmont's electric department, and Mr. Hanna, a city councilman, stand in front of the electric plant on Main Street between First and Second avenues. (Longmont Museum, courtesy photo)

“The building … was originally built in 1931 as the electric power plant for the city of Longmont, with additions in 1938 and 1951,” Mason said back then. “Huge diesel engines filled the building, operating around the clock to provide electricity to the citizens of Longmont. It operated as the city electric plant until 1969, when larger generating plants elsewhere replaced it. The city’s sanitation department used the building until their facility on Airport Road was completed in 1997.

“The building was declared a local landmark in 1997, and in 1998-99, using a combination of city funds and a Colorado State Historical Fund grant, it was completely renovated for use as the Longmont Museum’s collections storage facility. It is in daily use today, housing tens of thousands of objects from Longmont’s history. The building is not open to the public.”

Mason offered up a couple of historic photographs of the building, one of which you can see here.

There you have it, Curious. No need to go knock on the door yourself. And rest assured that mummies and mammoths are not coming to life at night at First and Main.

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