They’re here for your viewing pleasure—plaques all over the city, providing a glimpse into history.
“One of the neighbors called me and said the plaques are gone,” said Harvey Buchalter.
In the Huning Castle Neighborhood near the country club, two expensive brass plaques were taken last November.
“This is a historic area, and these plaques were lessons about what the neighborhood was and what the neighborhood is,” said Buchalter, President of the Huning Castle Neighborhood Association.
The plaques had pictures of the castle, along with a description of the Huning family—but now, those plaques are gone.
“We’re very, very sad. It’s taking a piece of our heritage away,” Buchalter said.
The city said the two Huning Castle Plaques are among the 45 or so citywide that have disappeared over the past decade.
“These plaques cost just over $1,000 apiece and they are recyclable, and as a result of the fact that would-be thieves could potentially make some money off of them, we believe that’s the reason they’ve become a target,” said Johnny Chandler, city spokesperson.
One of the most recent thefts, Chandler said, were 15 bronze plaques from the lookout points on the Montano bridge, also back in November.
“On those overlooks we put plaques talking about the Rio Grande and the history, and some of the significant events that happened in this valley previously,” said Chandler.
The plaques are still gone from the overlook today.
“They appear to have been stolen,” he said.
Chandler said now the city is working to replace them with a new version made out of high-density plastic—an unfortunate reality these days.
“To pick up a few dollars taking something that actually has value and utility for others…It’s a sad commentary,” said Buchalter.
The city is still looking for a vendor for the new plaques along the Montano Bridge. Right now, it only has plans to replace three of the 15.
Other stolen plaques around the city will be assessed if they will be replaced or not.
The Huning Castle Neighborhood is also looking to replace its plaque with a less valuable material.