FREIGHT: Leadville’s Hip New Event SpaceOctober 3, 2018
If you’re looking for a cool new space to hold a wedding or meeting in Leadville, Colorado, check out FREIGHT, a lovingly restored railroad depot just blocks from the historic downtown that opened this fall. You might get to visit if you attend an event in town, as FREIGHT is quickly becoming a popular venue in the community.
An appealing blend of old and new, the space can hold more than 200 people and is a charming setting for weddings, meetings, pop-up craft fairs, corporate retreats, film festivals, quinceaneras, lectures, and theatre performances.
FREIGHT exists to reclaim history from the past and spark culture for the present and is already a place where good memories are being made. As one of its first gatherings, FREIGHT hosted a community-wide contra dance and harvest dinner as a fundraiser for Cloud City Conservation Center. On Oct. 27, FREIGHT will become a pre-Halloween pumpkin patch.
A real-life train whistle adds to the ambiance. The depot is adjacent to the Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad, which you can take for a scenic ride into the alpine wilderness from Memorial Day weekend through early October.
The building was nearly abandoned before award-winning Colorado architects began working their magic on it. They considered every detail, using historical photos to meticulously reconstruct the chimney and even preserve centuries of graffiti carved into the walls.
Dreamer and architect Nan Anderson, FAIA, LEED AP, and her husband Dave Anderson, AIA, LEED AP, led the project. Nan’s work in historical restoration has spanned a 30-year career in Colorado and across the US, while serving as president of Colorado Preservation Inc. Elsa Tharp, a Leadville resident and the Andersons’ daughter, serves as Party Priestess, handling logistics and serving as community liaison and spokesperson.
In the future, FREIGHT will restore 15 cabins on site at the former lumber yard, the S. L. Smith Lumber Company, and you will be able to rent one in conjunction with events throughout the year. During the school year, FREIGHT will rent a few at affordable rates to new teachers or seasonal workers. These accommodations, built from salvaged material, will be creatively called the S.Lumber Yard.
They’ll be in keeping with Leadville’s historic aesthetic along with the town’s industrial past.
Photos by William Anderson.