Elbert County building officials red-tagged the Agate post office after a wind storm leveled an adjacent building. The building next to the post …
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Elbert County building officials red-tagged the Agate post
office after a wind storm leveled an adjacent building. The
building next to the post office, the Agate (grain) Elevator
Office, for years was nothing more than a shell until May 24, when
wind gusts of 65 mph took down the last of the cinder blocks.
“It was a wicked wind,” said Valinda Eberle, Agate
Eberle was on her lunch break when the elevator office came
down. Because of the strong winds she decided to spend lunch
resting in the break room when she heard a crash. Thinking there
might have been a train crash, she opened the door to find the
building next door had finally fallen.
Elbert County officials visited Agate the day the elevator
building toppled and discovered fresh cracks on the inside walls of
the post office. The county immediately condemned the post office
until an engineer can confirm the extent of the structural
With the help of the Agate School District, which donated a
building, and the phone company, which within 24 hours moved the
phone lines, the Agate post office was up and running in a
temporary location within a day.
“They’ve all been wonderful,” Eberle said. “I couldn’t have done
all of this without those people. They’ve all been godsends.”
The elevator office has been little more than a front wall
façade since Eberle’s arrival in town nearly eight years ago. As
legend has it, a fire swept through town years earlier, taking out
a gas station, a house and the elevator office, which shares a
front façade with the post office.
The post office opened on April 8, 1881, about five years after
the town was founded. Originally called Gebhard, Colo., Agate was
used as a central meeting point by local ranchers before the Union
Pacific Railroad established Gebhard in 1876.
Today, the railroad passes through Agate, without stopping, and
the town’s most prominent entities are the post office, the Agate
Mutual Phone Company and the school. Agate is the easternmost
community in Elbert County with the state’s smallest school
Eberle began efforts in 2004 to clean up vacant buildings in
town and successfully lobbied to have the county tear down the
hazard that was left of the town’s hotel. Since she arrived, and
with the help of a volunteer crew of about a dozen people, the
number of abandoned buildings in Agate has dropped from four to two
buildings. The landowners of the two remaining abandoned buildings
live out of state, Eberle said. Efforts to contact those landowners
have been unsuccessful, she said.
As for the elevator building, the decision to tear down the
building was in the hands of the county attorney, Eberle said. The
owner is an elderly man, and Eberle did not want to see him go
through the expense of removal.
“After awhile I just let it go because I knew the
circumstances,” she said. “Then when the wind was so horrific … it
Despite the strong winds that pummeled the Front Range that day,
few reports of wind damage arrived in Douglas County, to the west.
In Castle Rock, tree limbs came down onto power lines and the fire
department quickly cleaned up the deadfall. In Franktown, the side
of a plastic, domed greenhouse lifted in the wind. Firefighters
prevented further damage by cutting the torn plastic from the
This building in Agate collapsed May 24 when high winds pummeled
the Front Range. The building is adjacent to the Agate Post Office,
which is closed as officials test the integrity of the
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