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Some historic sites in the Mountain West are going on the National Historic Landmark list

A red brick synagogue with white stone pillars sits on a green lawn.
Temple Aaron
Temple Aaron, in Trinidad, Colo. The historic synagogue is a landmark of great importance to Jews around the nation. Many people have contributed their time and money to preserve the structure, and while it no longer hosts regular services, there are still occasional services for high holidays and events inside.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland has designated 16 new sites across the U.S. as National Historic Landmarks, including four in the Mountain West.

One of them is Temple Aaron in Trinidad, Colorado. It’s one of the most storied structures in Jewish American history in the southwest and served as a gathering space for Jews from around the region.

"(The local Jewish community) built the temple in 1889. One of the founding families donated the land that it was built on," the synagogue's vice president and treasurer Sherry Glickman said. "And they built the temple for a very handsome price of $12,000.”

Maintaining the worship space today costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. The new designation as a National Historic Landmark gives the synagogue – which no longer holds regular services – access to different types of preservation grants.

The synagogue is one of two new landmarks in Colorado, along with Wink’s Panorama– a historic African American resort in Pinecliffe. In Idaho and Wyoming, two military sites were named as landmarks.

The Quebec-01 launch control facility in central Wyoming was once a base designed for launching nuclear missiles. Christina Bird with Wyoming State Parks said the site’s importance will now receive wider recognition.

“In 2020 we started having discussions with the National Park Service and the State Historic Preservation Office on (the site's) national and international significance in the ending of the Cold War, and realized that it really would qualify under the National Park Service criteria for significance,” Bird said.

The state of Wyoming then applied for the National Historic Landmark designation with the help of a historian, and the Quebec-01 site now joins around 2,600 other National Historic Landmarks across the country.

The landmark designation won’t change much about the way the site is managed but will render it eligible for particular grants meant for National Historic Landmarks. Wyoming officials plan to feature the site more prominently as a tourist attraction in the future.

As a general assignment reporter and backup host, I gather news and write stories for broadcast, and I fill in to host for Morning Edition or All Things Considered when the need arises.

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