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Pea Green Community House receives historic designation

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The community house remains a vital asset to the agricultural community of Pea Green. Standing in front of the 90-year-old building is the bell that was originally housed in the belfry of the brick Pea Green school house.

The Pea Green Community House was recently named a Montrose County Historical Site -- largely because of the role the unassuming building at the corner of Highway 348 and Banner Road has played in the lives of area residents.

Native Pea Greener Lee Markley worked diligently with the Montrose County Landmark Properties Advisory Board to have the hall designated a historical site. A plaque presentation Sept. 7 made the designation official.

Markley and other members of the Pea Green Community Club reminsced about Saturday night dances, school lunches, Christmas programs and funerals (or funeral dinners) held at the community hall over the years.

"I more or less grew up in this building," Markley said. "All of the activities for the Pea Green School happened here -- Christmas parties, after school programs, lunch." He explains that before Montrose County School District offered a lunch program, Pea Green students crossed the road to eat lunch in the hall. "There was no cost to any student because of the now-famous Saturday night dances," he recalled.

Markley spent more than a year gathering up newspaper articles, photos and historical documents to include in the application to the Montrose County Historic Landmark Board.

He notes the Pea Green Community House was built by community members with logs hauled by team and wagon from the headwaters of Roubideau Creek on the Uncompahgre Plateau, down Transfer Road to the Pea Green intersection. Also at the intersection were a blacksmith shop, grocery store and two school buildings. A coat of paint on the wooden school building gave "Pea Green" its name.

The log community house was completed and dedicated in April 1927, just in time to hold the first eighth grade graduation ceremony.

Though the Pea Green School closed in 1963, the Pea Green Community House continues to be a popular venue for family reunions, club events and the Pea Green Saturday Night Concert Series.

In 1994, the Pea Green Club applied for a grant to "modernize" the facility with indoor plumbing and water. In the process of renovation, one of the original log walls was exposed. Now protected by a sheet of plexiglass, the log wall serves as a tribute to the tenacity and perseverance of Pea Green's early settlers.

Markley notes that care was taken to preserve the building's historical character.

The adjective "community" truly applies to the Pea Green hall, as generations of area residents have baked (and purchased) pies, donated materials and provided volunteer labor for maintenance and upgrades. In a rural area where few, if any, neighboring houses can be spied from your living room, it's the community hall that continues to bring "Pea Greeners" new and old together.

Photo by Pat Sunderland The honor of accepting the historical plaque from Zilla May Brown, Montrose County Historic Landmark Advisory Board, was given to Ralph Ray, who was born — and still lives — in a house half a mile up the road from the Pea Green Community House. Also pictured are Lee Markley and on either end, Montrose County Commissioners Keith Caddy and Glenn Davis.
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