OLD IS NEW AGAIN
Livingston, Montana’s 75-foot-tall “prairie skyscraper,” known as the Teslow, is a grand example of vernacular architecture. The grain elevator is a monument to the industries that built our town — farming, ranching, and the railroad — and as such is the embodiment of people’s dreams, labors, and lives. With your help, it will be again!
SAVING THE TESLOW
In January 2016, after a severe windstorm blew off a portion of the roof and damaged the highhouse, Livingston’s iconic Teslow grain elevator was under demolition. Horrified by the thought of losing a building so crucial to their town’s history and skyline, a handful of citizen activists quickly organized under the rallying cry, “Save the Teslow!” in what became a nail-biting cliffhanger for all involved.
With community support, and that of key individuals, the press, and the Montana Preservation Alliance, Team Teslow (as the group called itself), halted demotion, then in a dramatic reversal, hired the demolition team to become a construction crew to make repairs to the headhouse. The group purchased the grand old building 210 years after it was built, then organized as the Teslow Preservation Group, a 501(c)(3).
One year later, on a blustery February day, local companies and angel donors gave the Teslow a new roof. It was a crowning achievement in historic building preservation that secured the Teslow from further weather damage and Livingston’s wily pigeons. It also won the group the 2017 Montana State Preservation Office award for Outstanding Preservation Advocacy. But the cliffhanger’s not yet over!
PRESERVE, REPURPOSE, REINTEGRATE
The Teslow has a past. Now it needs a future.
The mission of the Teslow Preservation Group is to keep the Teslow standing, preserve its increasingly rare architecture, and reintegrate the building into the community by allowing it to be repurposed.
In a town with limited centralized real estate, which relies heavily on tourism to drive its economy, the elevator is an economic asset in a prime location. With success, the Teslow will join the ranks of buildings like Livingston’s Depot, Murray Hotel, and Livingston Bar & Grille — all of which were refurbished or adapted — as a functional, integral part of our community.
What is the Teslow’s potential adaptive reuse? What about a climbing wall, vertical farm, co-working space, or a distillery?