Private Philanthropist Donates $25,000 Towards Carnegie Library
About the Donor
In 1978, Ken Long, and his partner Bernard McNamara began a quest to find a large Victorian home in the Colorado Springs area. After several trips to and from Los Angeles, Long and McNamara noticed a picture of the Cliffhouse in their realtor's office. This is where their love affair with Manitou Springs began. In 1979, no banks were willing to lend funds because of Manitou Springs' redlined status, so their dream of owning the Cliffhouse was cut short due to the two not being able to raise the down payment to purchase the building. Although the Cliffhouse was no longer an option, they were able to purchase and rehabilitate the Barker House (Navajo Hotel at the time) in 1979.
A few years before Long and McNamara's purchase of the Barker House, the building was condemned, making rehabilitation efforts even more challenging. Long and McNamara began partial restoration, soon opening 17 apartments and five commercial spaces. Ken Long has been involved with historic preservation in Manitou Springs ever since, represented by his interest in purchasing the Spa Building in 1978, but also his investment into the remodel and expansion of the Manitou Springs Carnegie Library in 2023.
A Note From Ken Long
When looking at the overall history of this city, historic preservation has always been a top priority for any proposed change, upgrade to any building, period. When Bernie McNamara and I bought the condemned Barker House to save it from being a parking lot, our guidance from the City was total appreciation for our efforts to save such a prominent structure at a critical time in Manitou Springs' history. So to have an original Carnegie Library is a treasure to save, and improve upon and preserve for future generations.
In 1978, when we needed education and assistance on how to properly preserve and restore Victorian structures, as well as how to take on such a project as the Barker House, we went to the library to indulge ourselves in such detail that we had little experience with.
Today even with the internet, to sit down with a book and immerse oneself is a valuable experience that we all should enjoy and learn from. The physical location of the library is so valuable as an asset to the elementary school as well as the entire community. The expanded and improved facility will be such a blessing to the community for another one hundred years to come.
As a citizen and taxpayer of this city for 32 years, I would encourage others to contribute heartily to this worthwhile endeavor to only enhance the unique and beautiful downtown of this quaint and wonderful city we all love.