Leadville Fish Hatchery Adds New Building
If you’ve been out to the Leadville National Fish Hatchery this summer, no doubt you noticed the new building. Did you see it going up? Right from the start you knew it was going to be something special. The attention to design was apparent, fitting in so nicely with the historic design and materials used in the original 1889 hatchery building.
“What we’ve built,” explained hatchery manager Ed Stege, “is a two-room fish isolation building.”
Construction on the project started in June of 2017. And now that it’s complete, it will allow fish biologists to conduct important studies and projects to ensure a strong, healthy fish population for years and generations to come.
“What this will allow me to do,” continues Stege, “is to bring in either fish or fish eggs or any other aquatic organism from the world, that has not been fully disease-tested.” From there, the wildlife is raised up until it passes a fish health inspection, and can then be moved out into the general hatchery population. It allows the Leadville hatchery to become further involved in developing important cutthroat brood stock and other native fish species in Colorado. How cool is that?! Once again Leadville leads the way!
“We can’t do anything with wild fish in the hatchery, unless we first try to do something with them in isolation,” the long-time local fish hatchery manager said, emphasizing the importance of making sure, “I’m not bringing a fish disease into the facility.”
The new building has public viewing windows on the east side. However, the general public is not be allowed inside the building.
While the functionality of the new building is interesting, the design and attention to detail on this project certainly stands out. The intention was to integrate and match the historic landmark – the original hatchery building – that overlooks the new, smaller addition as well as the established runways located on the grounds.
The original hatchery building was complete in 1890, built by architects L.J. Hunt and John Gorham. For many of Leadville’s Pioneer days, it was the only thing standing in the area. Since then, it has become an integral part of the Leadville community, from the student outings to take advantage of the impressive educational tours the facility provides, to the miles of recreational trails that have been established and maintained, in part thanks to the Friends of the National Leadville Fish Hatchery. In 1980, the original building was officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
It’s beautiful sandstone brick is stunning and the white trim makes its deep red color stand out all the more. The original building which turns 128 years old this year, stands as a testament to its solid construction, considering the many winters it has weathered in its home located inside the Mount Massive Wilderness area.
The Leadville National Fish Hatchery was established in 1889 and is one of 70 hatcheries in the National Fish Hatchery System. It is managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
There’s little doubt that a lot of effort was put into mimicking that same stone material and design in the new building. A job well-done for all. So be sure to come and see it for yourself at the Leadville National Fish Hatchery.
A Visual Tour of Leadville Fish Hatchery & Nature Trail