SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Historic preservation specialist Jeff Brown is hoping his work crews won't find the spot where legs and arms are buried at Pecos National Historical Park.The appendages would be those amputated from Civil War soldiers in 1862 at a makeshift hospital housed in Kozlowski's Trading Post east of Santa Fe.Finding the bony remains, while exciting, would slow down Brown's current project: a six-year renovation of the almost 2-century-old stage stop and tavern. The low-slung pink stucco building with faded turquoise trim along N.M. 63 was a popular stop on the Santa Fe Trail for decades.Brown and crew will restore the adobe-and-pine building to its look from the 1940s and '50s, when E.E. "Buddy" Fogelson and his actress wife, Greer Garson, used the trading post as headquarters for their Forked Lightning Ranch.The historic character of the building and any usable original materials will be preserved, but it will be upgraded to house administrative offices and a place to greet visitors."A lot of people see the trading post first, before the visitors center," said Christine Beekman, chief of interpretation at the park.Along with restoring the old trading post, Pecos National Historical Park plans to open 3,000 acres east of the building along the Pecos River, long closed to the public except for special occasions.The Pecos National Historical Park protects the ruins of Pecos Pueblo, a historic Catholic church and the site of the Civil War battle of Glorieta Pass. The original room of the trading post dates to 1810, according to a plaque posted on the building by Daughters of the American Revolution.When Polish immigrant Martin Kozlowski left the Army after five years fighting Apaches, he moved into the old building near Pecos Pueblo in 1858. He needed some room for 10 children he and his wife would eventually raise there.Some building materials came from the nearby old church at the Pecos Pueblo ruins.The stage stop was located at a prime spot, near a creek and along the old Santa Fe Trail. It became a popular stopover for weary travelers headed to Santa Fe.In 1862, the Union Army set up headquarters at the trading post, anticipating a run-in with Confederate soldiers on their way to Fort Union from Santa Fe. During the battle and for a couple of months afterward, "they treated the sick and wounded right out there in the courtyard," Beekman said.No one has figured out where the amputated limbs were buried.Kozlowski figured into the valley's colorful past in many ways. Kozlowski's claim to 160 acres and the trading post were shaky, according to G. Emlen Hall in his book Four Leagues of Pecos: A Legal History of the Pecos Grant.Kozlowski and another landowner were sued by U.S. Attorney T.B. Catron in 1873, claiming they had violated a federal law at the time preventing non-Indians from settling on pueblo land grants and owed $1,000 each.Catron's claim against Kozlowski became part of a pueblo land case that went to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the trader ultimately retained the land he claimed, Hall said.The trading post later served as a ranch office for rodeo producer Tex Austin, who added corrals, sheds, barns, a tennis court and a polo field to Kozlowski's stage stop and turned it into a trading post.He hired architect John Gaw Meem to design his main ranch house on a bluff overlooking the Pecos River in what would become one of Meem's signature projects. Austin lost the ranch to debt and committed suicide in 1938.Texas oilman and rancher Fogelson bought the spread in 1939, and it became a center for socializing after he married Garson a decade later.Fogelson raised Santa Gertrudis cattle on the ranch. Garson inherited half the ranch after Fogelson died and sold it to The Conservation Fund in 1991, which donated the land and buildings to the National Park Service.Once the ranch was no longer operating, the trading post fell into disrepair.So far, Brown and his crews haven't found any buried treasure, but when they removed the old pinewood floors from the trading post, they uncovered about 100 years worth of mouse poop. Termites and moisture had damaged a lot of flooring.Much will be saved and laid down again on either a concrete slab or wood framing. The rest will be filled in with matching wood flooring."The appearance will be exactly as it was before even though you can't see what's underneath," Brown said.New heating and cooling systems will be installed underneath the floors so they're not visible in the historic structure. Electrical wiring and plumbing will be replaced but old fixtures will remain. The original flat, dirt roof and a small gable roof on top will be repaired in 2011.Next summer, the crew will rehabilitate and restore old windows and doors and put them in again.The restoration project could be finished in a year, Brown said, but the $1.5 million for the project is coming in phases."That's why it will take longer than it should," said Brown, who has worked for 20 years in historic preservation with the National Park Service.
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