NEW RAYMER — Centre Avenue, main street in the town of New Raymer in Weld County, has been identified as one of Colorado’s most endangered places by Colorado Preservation Inc., which will begin an effort to revive the town.
The small market center is representative of once thriving communities on the northeastern plains, but has all but shut down since it was founded in 1888 and most of its businesses closed in the 1960s.
Colorado Preservation will begin a campaign to bring state and national attention to Center Avenue in hopes of restoring the Post Office building that could serve as a catalyst for downtown and serve as an example for similar communities.
Most the buildings along Centre Avenue have changed little since first constructed in the 1910s and 1920s.
The town of Raymer was established in 1888 along a new line of the Colorado and Wyoming Railroad Co. running from Sterling to Cheyenne. Homesteaders from eastern Nebraska settled the town in the 1880s. Its name was changed to New Raymer New Raymer
to avoid confusion with Ramah, Colo.
Development began when W.M. Truxaw purchased the first lot along Centre Avenue on the same day it was platted. He constructed the Truxaw and Krueger Grocery building, which would later become the post office.
Stores, shops, hotels and businesses soon followed, creating a thriving downtown core along Centre Avenue. Newspaper advertisements show that a variety of businesses served the town in the 1910s and 1920s, including hardware stores, liveries, stables and bakeries, hotels, drug stores, a tractor dealership, gas stations, and a bank.
The town population declined in the 1930s due to drought and economic depression. It continued to decline into the next decades, and by the 1960s, most of the businesses along Centre Avenue had closed.
Despite these changes, New Raymer remained a gathering place for the surrounding population. Descendants of the early pioneers that settled New Raymer still reside in the nearby rural areas. They continue to farm and ranch in the area, and come to town to meet for church, school and social activities. Many of the families have known one another for generations, and the community hopes to keep these stories and relationships alive by revitalizing the downtown core.
Colorado Preservation, working to preserve the state’s heritage, also will work this year to revive The World’s Wonder View Tower near Genoa in Lincoln County, and Temple Aaron in Trinidad, Las Animas County.