St. Elmo was founded as a mining town in 1880 and later dually served as a hub for the Denver, South Park & Pacific Railroad. Today St. Elmo is largely a ghost town that includes thirty-nine log or wooden structures dating to the mining era. The St. Elmo Schoolhouse was built in 1882 and also functioned as a place for meetings and church services. Today it holds the honorary, yet unfortunate, status as the town’s last remaining municipal building.
In 2004, the St. Elmo Property Owner’s Association transferred the Schoolhouse to Buena Vista Heritage, a non-profit organization that preserves and shares the history of Buena Vista and Chaffee County. With the help of an SHF grant, BVH restored the schoolhouse and opened it for public viewing. The restoration project, completed by Older Than Dirt Construction, included: foundation and drainage work, exterior siding repair, painting, window and door restoration, privy preservation, roof repairs, updating electrical systems, archaeological monitoring and security analysis. The project was completed in November 2005.
For additional information about this project please contact the State Historical Fund at 303-866-2825.