The 2018 Saving Places Conference will focus on the Power of Place – exploring the connection between people and place, celebrate Colorado’s diverse history, recognize the role of heritage in forming community identity, and discuss incentives available for the reuse of historic places in our communities. CPI’s Saving Places Conference is a dynamic four-day event from Wednesday Jan. 31st – Saturday Feb. 3rd and features high-quality educational sessions and workshops, tours, and networking opportunities for individuals interested in historic preservation. The conference is designed to provide engaging, varied content that will equip attendees with knowledge and tools they can integrate into their work and communities to build a future with historic places.

Presenters from the San Luis Valley at this year’s conference will be the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area, S.P.M.D.T.U., the Old Spanish Trail and and Hilos Culturales.

The presentation “The Power of Place in the San Luis Valley”, on Friday, Feb. 2nd, examines how researchers, educators, and public land managers are using rural, cultural landscapes and historic buildings in the San Luis Valley to promote historic preservation and a deeper appreciation of the community’s culture and history. These powerful places reveal unique stories, nurture public memory, and promote further understanding of cultural landscapes changing over time. Dr. Saenz, Tori Martinez, Nicholas Scarborough, and Marilyn Martorano will highlight techniques used to connect the local community to their past and preserve the places that matter. Park Ranger Nicholas Scarborough, will discuss how place based learning and field methods connect local middle and high school students to the field of archaeology and create a deeper understanding of how and why to preserve historic and archaeological sites. Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area Executive Director will demonstrate how oral histories from community members and preservation projects are bringing these sites to life and encouraging visitors to explore and learn more about this area’s rich culture. Dr. Saenz will highlight place based curriculum for educators to use historic sites as a means for connecting students to these sites and the meanings behind these sites: settlement, politics, and cultural landscapes. Marilyn Martorano will discuss how the Trujillo Homestead National Historic Landmark within the SdCNHA is creating a sense of reunion for family members whose relatives settled the area as well as a place of reflection on what it means to be connected to a place but located within the boundaries of public lands

Case Study of the Sociedad Protección Mutua De Trabajadores Unidos’ (SPMDTU) will be presented on Thursday, Feb. 1st at 1:45pm. SPMDTU is dedicated to serving the communities in which it resides. This service to community is accomplished by focusing on Cultural Preservation, Organizational Preservation, Community Engagement, and Education. The SPMDTU was founded on November 26, 1900 by Celedonio Mondragón, along with a core group of seven supporters in Antonito, Colorado. The SPMDTU began as an organization that sought, through non-violent actions, to combat the exploitation of Hispanic workers by land barons, mine owners and the railroads. It is the oldest surviving Hispanic organization in the United States. The SPMDTU meeting hall, located at 603 Main Street, Antonito, CO is listed in the “State Register of Historic Properties” and the “National Register of Historic Places” in the areas of Ethnic Heritage and Social History. This session will provide a history of the SPMDTU and the status of the restoration of its building in Antonito, Colorado.

Archaeological and Historical Investigations along the Old Spanish Trail in Colorado will take place at 11:00 Friday Feb. 2nd. – 10:15 am. The Old Spanish Trail was a commercial route with three branches used by traders in New Mexico from 1829-1848 to reach markets in California and elsewhere. Designated a National Historic Trail in 2002, it is managed jointly by the National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management. In Colorado, the North Branch has the greatest scope as it passes through the San Luis Valley and over Cochetopa Pass to the Uncompahgre and Gunnison River valleys on its way westward. It functioned largely a trail for trappers and traders to reach into the mountains of Colorado and Utah and to interact with the Ute Indians. Later use was by government expeditions, including the Gunnison and Beale expeditions, and as a military wagon road by Col. Loring in 1858. It then became the primary travel route into Western Colorado. Its general course continues to be a major path of travel. The trail has been the subject of intensive fieldwork since 2010. This session brings together the foremost researchers of the Old Spanish Trail in Colorado who have been involved in identifying the various routes of the trail through archival research and on-the-ground fieldwork. Through their work, variants of the trail have been identified, changes in condition through conversion to wagon roads and modern roads and highways have been documented, and important archaeological sites investigated. Interpretation of the trail for travelers is underway, laying the groundwork for increased appreciation of the historical importance of the trail by the general public and heritage tourism.

Hilos Culturales will present Documentation and Preservation of Cultural Traditions of the Indio-Hispano Communities at 10:30 on Friday. Founded in 2000, Hilos Culturales has focused on preserving cultural traditions of Indio-Hispano communities of the upper Río Grande region of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. Through publications and film, a 500 year history is made available to educators, historians and folklore enthusiasts, on a variety of topics including Anthropology, Ethnomusicology, Literature, Music and Storytelling. Attendees will learn about the value of documenting and preserving traditions through digital multi-media publications. Multi-media projects discussed during this session will include: a published book (¡Viva La Tradición!) – a twelve year history of local Traditional Artists in music and dance; Cultural Threads – an award winning documentary film portraying the Río Grande regions lifeways, filmed in San Luis, the oldest town in Colorado; a fourteen part educational film module series available on-line, on demand or on DVD (authored and layered sets); on-line quarterly eMagazine, El Alba, highlighting the Río Grande region’s Indio-Hispano cultural mosaic through a multimedia format.

Saving Places is put on by Colorado Preservation, Inc.(CPI). CPI promotes historic preservation statewide by providing advocacy, education, outreach and preservation services to communities and individuals. Their vision is to engage citizens statewide to honor and protect their heritage, to lead them to build a sustainable future with historic places and to inspire them to prioritize the past as legacy.

For a full schedule of events, registration or more information about Saving Places visit: