PUEBLO, Colo. — If you’re passing through Pueblo you can check out, or rather check-in, to a piece of history. The Coronado Motel is now in the National Register of Historic Places.
The Coronado Motel, built in the 1940s, earned recognition for its historical role during the Jim Crow Era.
“It is very authentic and it has a lot of the historic integrity still left,” said Corinne Koehler, Historic Pueblo Board Member.
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Originally called The Coronado Lodge, the motel was listed in the Negro Traveler’s Green Book. The book was a guide for lodging, businesses, drug stores and even homes open to people of color during the segregation era.
“The Green Book was the guide that a lot of African Americans used to find out where they could safely stay and eat and visit as they traveled across the country,” said Koehler.
The Coronado was one of a few options in Pueblo, and across Colorado, listed in the Green Book 1957 Edition. It was only one of three motels listed as non-segregated Colorado options in the 1967 Edition.
“In Colorado especially you would just see houses listed and they would have rooms available for blacks to stay in. There were not really motels or lodges listed,” said Koehler.
Corinne Koehler, a Historic Pueblo board member, discovered The Coronado Lodge listed in the Green Books and led the effort to get the motel added to the historic register. After watching a movie on the books, she did some digging to find the original books online.
“Most of the buildings are no longer standing, or they have been completely changed. But then I saw The Coronado listed and immediately was like ‘Oh!’,” said Koehler. “So I reached out the owners and asked them if I could try and get the property listed.”
The current owners have run the motel for the last 30 years. They didn’t know its historical significance until Koehler came to them with the idea to get the place added to the national register.
“For a lot of properties that are connected to black history, they have not been listed in the national register,” said Koehler. “Information about blacks in Pueblo, or any place in Colorado, is very difficult to find because a lot of it was not saved going back decades. Most of the places were related to history of white, rich Americans.”
Koehler’s discovery in Pueblo is proving there’s still some history left to be found.
“There has really been a push to try and highlight more of the history of minorities, women also. A lot of these places are now being listed because they have been kind of forgotten,” Koehler said.