The building that has operated under several names since it began life in 1892 as the Durango Light and Power Co. on Monday changed its name, again.
It’s now the Powerhouse Science Center.
“We believe this name better reflects what we actually do within our walls and throughout the community we serve,” Executive Director Chris Cable said in a news release. “We focus on science, engineering, math and technology education for all ages.”
The science center carries out its mission with lectures, interactive programs, demonstrations and hands-on exhibits.
In 1892, the Durango Light and Power Co. went with a new technology – AC (alternating current) power – that had been deemed too dangerous in some Eastern cities. It eventually was absorbed by Western Colorado Power, providing electricity for the Western Slope.
In the mid-1970s, the aging power plant was boarded up and acquired by the city of Durango. The building by that time needed a lot of work – removal of asbestos and tons of pigeon droppings – to prepare it for occupancy.
The powerhouse is on the Colorado State Register of Historic Properties as well as the National Register of Historic Places and became one of Colorado Preservation, Inc.’s Most Endangered Places.
In 1998, what became the Powerhouse Science Center started as the Children’s Museum of Durango in the rented attic of the Durango Arts Center. When it outgrew that venue, the directors leased the old AC powerhouse from the city and renovated it.
Then, in February 2011, the organization changed its name and opened as Durango Discovery Museum in the former powerhouse, which sits along the banks of the Animas River at Camino del Rio and 14th Street.
During the course of 2014, the new organization will be changing signs, printed materials and website to reflect the new name.