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Thirty-eight members of our community met in 2003 to address the critical issues of falling sales tax revenues and vacant commercial buildings with representatives from around the state of Colorado.  Nine members of this original group served on a committee that evolved into Lake City DIRT.  Six years and fourteen thousand volunteer hours later, where are we?

Recent travelers through Lake City called the community a “vibrant oasis that has never looked better”.  Together, we’ve planted flower beds, painted storefront, installed boardwalks and started a Youth Corps … we’ve begun an open-air market, hosted a Wine & Music Festival and other events, and created a “buzz” about our community … we’ve offered business loans, invited teleworkers to relocate, and provided professional development trainings … we’ve brought in more than $180,000 in outside grant funding, and sold ornaments & aprons.  But perhaps the most important gift Lake City DIRT gives its residents & visitors is an opportunity to make a difference.  Whether it’s in downtown design, promotions & marketing, economic development, or through the operations of our nonprofit organization, there’s an appealing volunteer job for everyone.  And while we’re working together – pulling weeds, serving wine, visiting another Main Street community, or whatever – inevitably, someone says, “you know what we could do” – and the voice of community emerges, full of ideas & energy, born of a desire to give back to this place we all love.

 

We make a living by what we do, but we make a life by what we give.

- Winston Churchill

 

Lake City DIRT relies on the financial support of individuals, businesses, and local government.  We leverage your donations through volunteer labor and active grant-writing & funds-seeking.  Community – thank you

 

National Historic Trust Partnership

DIRT Products

Lake City DIRT sells commemorative ornaments featuring historic Lake City buildings, Lake City Uncorked Wine & Music Festival t-shirts, and the San Juan Tapestry. 

A San Juan Tapestry - $20 +SH

Order Form for the San Juan Tapestry

This 118 page, soft cover book features more than 135 historical photographs, personal remembrances and excerpts from historical publications.   Timeless photography and excerpts from pioneer and present-day oral histories are woven into a captivating, generational tapestry.  When pieced together, the entwined character of this land and the people who have called this place home is preserved on the pages of the San Juan Tapestry to be treasured and shared. 



Ornament Series - Each $20 a piece +SH

Lake City DIRT began a commemorative ornament series featuring one historic building per year. Proceeds from the ornament go to support revitalization and historic preservation programs.

Each ornament is $20.00 which includes tax.  The cost of shipping is an additional $3.00 per ornament.  Limited quantities available. Each ornament has a unique number.

Armory

The 2012 ornament features the Armory building.  Local businessmen contracted the construction of the Lake City Opera House in June of 1883. The project was partially driven by a receding economy spurred by announcement that the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad would not complete its planned railroad spur up the Lake Fork to Lake City. Locally fired red bricks were used.  Local brick mason Daniel Hurd, J.J. Mayers, and J.W. Kraft constructed the building.  Cost of the structure was $15,000 and furnishings $5,000, paid in part through the sale of $10 shares of stock. The hall was formally opened with a Thanksgiving Eve Ball in 1883. Plays were held on a large stage at the west end of the main hall, while the east end of the hall was used by Co. A, Second Battalion of the Colorado National Guard, known locally as the Pitkin Guards. It was the Guards’ use of the hall for a meeting and drill room which prompted the building’s historic and current title, the Armory. Three rooms in the second story of the east end were elegantly fitted up for the elite Hinsdale Club. This private, members-only club furnished the rooms with Brussels carpets, desks, two billiard tables, and a reading room stocked with news and literary journals from throughout the world.  Structural problems were evident from the beginning. Heavy snows in January 1886 caused the Armory roof to collapse while leaving the walls standing; local contractor Thomas Beam was given the contract to replace the roof. He installed the railroad bridge-like system of roof supports and trusses, connected with iron tie rods, which remain visible to this day. The historically preserved interior of the Armory still reflects a unique beam and truss system.

Since construction, the Armory has been used for school graduation exercises; large public gatherings (observances following the deaths of U.S. President Grant in 1885 and President McKinley in 1901; patriotic rallies at the start of the Spanish American War and World War I); athletic competitions such as those hosted by the Lake City Greens basketball team (1910s and 1920s); and an annual Washington’s Birthday Masquerades sponsored by J. S. Hough Fire Company (from the 1880s until the 1940s). The old stage remained in use until 1953.  Eventually, walls were constructed to allow storage of firefighting equipment. The Lake City town offices moved into the Amory building around 1954. Also in the mid-1950s, the rooms on the lower floor of the two-story portion were installed with steel jail cells for use as the county jail. The Town of Lake City continues to use the facility for offices, a Teen Center, storage, and a weight room, while the main hall continues its use for almost daily athletic events and classes offered through the Recreation Department.

 

 

 

Hough Building
Hough Building 

The 2010 Commemorative Ornament features the Hough Building is a cornerstone in historic Lake City. The elaborate Italianate-style architecture combines locally fired red brick with cast iron architectural elements freighted from St. Louis, Missouri, large expanses of plate glass windows and transoms, decorative tin cornice, and elaborately carved stonework. The Hough Building is actually two side-by-side two-story brick buildings, constructed by John S. Hough as a direct result of his success in business and mining ventures. The corner building was built in 1880, and the second adjoining structure dates to 1882.

Fueled by the anticipated completion of cheap railroad transportation, the early summer of 1880 was a frantic time for Lake City construction as work began simultaneously on two imposing brick commercial blocks on opposite corners of the “Burnt District” (named because of the catastrophic fire of 1879).

Dry goods dealers Hartman & Co. were among the first to move into the newly completed Hough Building in March, 1881.  Hartman & Co. was purchased by A.E. Reynolds, which was purchased in 1885 by the local general merchandise firm Patz & Richards – their slogan  “... you can nearly always get what you call for in this store.” The building briefly housed a shooting gallery, the Lake City Post Office, an ice cream parlor, and a dance hall and pool hall. A grocery store and liquor store operated at the Hough Building through the 1970s. The second story included seven original office rooms that eventually housed a legal firm, mining and assay offices, a doctor and dentist office, a telegraph office, the town’s library, and a fortune telling office as well as elegant residential apartments. The finished stone basement became the “Hole in the Wall” saloon from 1881-1882. The basement remained unused until the revival of a saloon by that name in 1978. The back portion became the Lake City Theatre where motion pictures were shown in the 1940s. The Hough Building was acquired by Mike & Stella Pavich who operated various businesses until 1976 when the structure sold to John Parker. Parker renovated the building and eventually sold it to the Lake City Arts Council. The building now houses the Moseley Arts Center, Mary Stigall Theatre, and Anthony Gallery.

On April 1, 1901, the prized plate-glass windows and architectural iron work were scarred as a result of a gun fight in which two Lake City businessmen were mortally wounded.John Addington, livery owner, and blacksmith Alexander Surtees had a disagreement over a Bluff Street woman, Lizzie Frazier. The exchange of gunfire took place in front of the Hough Building, with Surtees dying immediately on the stone steps of the 304 Silver portion of the Hough Block. Addington was taken to Meek’s Lake City Hospital where he died a few days later. Still visible today is a bullet hole near the base of one of the decorative iron columns located near the corner on the Third Street side of the building.

 

 

Finley Block Building

Museum Ornament

The 2009 Commemorative Ornament features the Hinsdale County Museum, built in 1877.  The Hinsdale County Museum currently resides in the Finley Block Building.  The building’s original owner – Henry Finley – was instrumental in many early Lake City business ventures.  The stonewalls of both the Finley Block and Stone Bank Block were built simultaneously in June 1877 and are almost identical with segmented arch windows, exaggerated keystones, finely detailed corner quoins, and similar woodwork.  Both buildings were completed in 1877.   The first occupant of the Finley Block was the general merchandise store “Stone Trade Palace” which remained in the building until 1880 before relocating.  Subsequent uses of the building included the hardware firm Kraft & Mullin, grocers McIntyre & Brown, and tinsmith George Boyd.  In the early 1900s, Pete Albi and Frank Potestio conducted business as the Dago Brothers Saloon and also stocked groceries and other supplies, catering primarily to Italian miners and their families.    In May 1909, Silver Star Lodge (Odd Fellows) acquired the Finley Block and renovated the interior with a new tin ceiling, block chimneys, and frame partitions.  The tin ceiling remains one of only two decorative tin ceilings in the Lake City Historic District, the other in the Masonic Hall. As the Odd Fellows Hall, Finley Block was a centerpiece of Lake City lodge and social life from 1909 until the late 1940s. In addition to lodge meetings, the building held public dinners, social events, and occasional funerals for members.  The challenge of declining membership, ongoing maintenance of the building -- particularly its long, flat roof, posed a continuing challenge for the lodge's dwindling finances. After Silver Star Lodge was disbanded, the Finley Block was practically abandoned.  In late June 1961, Texas businessman Bill Hanks purchased the Finley Block with a bid of $2,375. Hanks re-excavated the building's basement, installed the basement's extant cement slab floor, installed a rear garage-door entrance to the basement, and removed upstairs partitions. Hanks sold the building to J. W. Fandrich prior to completing work and it remained a vacant shell until July 1975, when the Hinsdale County Historical Society opened a museum in the building. The historical society used the building for displays and storage until 1976 when the property was sold to Lake City Area Recreation, a consortium of local businessmen. It was improved with indoor plumbing and rented at different times as a video arcade and antique shop prior to its sale to the Hinsdale County Historical Society, and a return of the Hinsdale County Museum, in 1987.  Open May through August, the Hinsdale County Museum offers a variety of interpretive displays and tours to educate the public on the unique heritage of our community.

 

 

Hinsdale County Courthouse

Hinsdale Courthouse

The 2008 Commemorative Ornament features the Hinsdale County Courthouse, built in 1877.  Hinsdale County Courthouse is associated with settlement and development of Lake City during the late 1800’s mining era.  It is significant for its role as seat of county government since its 1877 construction.  The Hinsdale County Courthouse is Colorado’s oldest courthouse that continues to be utilized for its originally intended purpose and a rare surviving example of a frame courthouse building.  It is also a well-preserved representative of the Italianate style constructed in Lake City during this period, as reflected in its clapboard exterior, bracketed cornice, corner boards, frieze board, transoms, and narrow windows with crown molding.  The courthouse remains relatively unchanged from when it was built.  The courthouse is listed as a contributing element of the Lake City National Historic District and has been deemed eligible for individual listing on the National Register.  The structure is historically notable based on its architectural style and close association with nationally recognized historic figures such as Susan B. Anthony and Colorado cannibal Alferd Packer.

 

 

 Miners & Merchants Bank Building - SOLD OUT

Miners and Merchant Bannk

The 2007 Commemorative Ornament features the Miners & Merchants Bank, built in 1877.  Known as the Stone Bank Block, the building was constructed by First National Bank and John S. Hough, and completed in 1877.  The beautiful cut-stone and all the furnishings totaled $22,000.  This building is unique in the area as it showcases stone arches and French plate glass panels.  The Miners and Merchants Bank bought the building in 1881 and operated until 1914 when many of the mines closed and business stagnated.  Through the years, the building has seen a variety of uses, including the Lake City Post Office, an ice cream parlor, silent movie theatre, the office of Lake City Power Company, a restaurant, liquor store, cocktail lounge and dance floor.  The upstairs has been used as the Lake City Hotel and offices for physicians, attorneys, and dentists.   For many years, the building was operated as the Elkhorn Hotel.  A group of local businessmen reopened the renovated building and a banking institution is once again operating in this location. This project was made possible in part through financial support from the Miners and Merchants Bank.

 

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Lake City DIRT

PO Box 973

Lake City, CO  81235

970-944-DIRT

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The Lake City DIRT office is located about the Miners & Merchants Bank, next to the Silver World, in Suite #5.  Thank you to the Miners & Merchants Bank for this generous donation of space.

 

 

 

 

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