Bobtail Tramway Portal surfaces as historic landmark

John Scarffe, Black Hawk.  The Black Hawk City Council directed City Manager Jack Lewis to apply for local historic landmark designation for the Bobtail Tramway Portal during a regular meeting on Wednesday, March 22, at 3 p.m., 211 Church Street. The Council also received a request for a license agreement to encroach on the city right of way and a temporary construction easement for the historic property at 211 Horn Street.












The City of Black Hawk requested the city manager to take all necessary steps for the City to apply for local historic landmark designation for the City owned property at 201 Selak Street, generally known as the Bobtail Tramway Portal, according to the request for Council action. Staff was directed by the Historic Preservation Commission to initiate the process to apply for local historic landmark designation of the portal.

Community Planning and Development Director Cynthia Linker said the Historic Preservation Committee tries to designate one historic landmark every year. In January, the City applied for a Local Historic Landmark Designation for the City Hall.

The Bobtail Tramway Portal is located behind City Hall. Alderman Linda Armbright said she used to play in there when she was a kid. Mayor David Spellman said a covered tramway ran down to the mill.
The tramway went under Church Street, and workers would transfer material from the ore carts down the covered tramway, Spellman said. They have a plan to transform the site with a gate and a storyboard. The Council approved the resolution to apply for landmark designation.


The Council considered a resolution approving the license agreement from the City to Benito Torres for the property at 211 Horn Street that encroaches into the City right-of-way and a temporary construction easement as a condition of the preservation easement agreement. Alderman Torres recused himself from the meeting during this discussion.

Benito Torres, property owner, is participating in the Historic Restoration and Community Preservation program. The improvement survey plat identified that a portion of the roadside rock wall, stair landing and stair gate encroach into the Horn Street right-of-way.

Torres agreed to execute a license agreement with the City of Black Hawk to recognize and address the encroachment. The temporary construction easement is a condition of the preservation easement agreement from Torres to the City for the rehabilitation of 211 Horn Street.

“The Property Owner understands and agrees that prior to any construction the applicant shall grant to the City a temporary construction easement necessary to complete the work, and shall execute a deed restriction in favor of the City,” according to the request. The Structure has architectural, historic and cultural significance.

“The Structure is located in a National Register historic district and has been deemed by the United States Department of the Interior as contributing to the historic significance of the historic district,” according to the request. The original portion of the house is visible in historic photographs purportedly dating from 1890 and 1900. It was encased by the 1972 addition and alterations, and in 1999 the rock wall was replaced for $9,754.

The Council unanimously approved both resolutions without staff presentation or discussion. The Council also approved a temporary construction easement from Leon Pohl to the City for rehabilitation of the property at 241 DuBois Street. The easement area extends about two to five feet from the property line.