Within a few years, one generation passes and another comes on the scene. If those who follow are to have any notion of what it was that went before, it must fall to those who possess a tie to the past to preserve what may be known. In that spirit, the people of Montrose, Colorado, endeavored in 1997 to document and record the history of the region and town.
O'Neill Brothers Kirk's Hotel
(1898) 301 E. Main
"Everybody goes to Kirk's" was the common expression at the turn of the century. Built in 1898, Kirk's Hotel boasted 22 furnished rooms, steam heat, electric lights, and hot and cold water baths. Oysters served in any and all styles, were the specialty of the fine hotel restaurant. A billiards parlor, operated by the O'Neill Brothers, occupied the downstairs. In later years, the hotel was known as the Chipeta, with the Weber Pool Hall downstairs. It is said that heavyweight champion of the world Jack Dempsey trained in the back of Weber's.
1905 307-309 E. Main
"A bargain in dresses! Silk dresses in the newest shades and style - worth $3.00 only $1.50. Hats - 98 cents!" Andrew Noble Humphries was trained in Chicago for the mercantile business by Marshall Field & Co. and was sent to Ouray in 1888 to open a store for
that company. Later he went into the mercantile business for himself in Ouray and established branch stores at Red Mountain and Montrose. Humphries build this building in 1905 and furnished all the latest fashions to the Montrose ladies.
First Knights of Pythias,(circa 1899)
317-321 E. Main
Built between 1899 and 1900, this building originally housed a drugstore and a bank, with the Knights of Pythias (a male fraternal organization) occupying the hall upstairs.
The town's most popular druggist, Charles J. Getz, came to Montrose in 1885 and operated from this building. He married Miss Ida Ham, who entertained at the American House Hotel (formerly located at the corner of Main and Townsend) by playing the piano and singing to a parrot.
The Montrose Elks Lodge #1053, established in Montrose in 1906, used this building until 1927, when they built a new building.
Notice the cast iron, fluted pilasters with acanthus leaf capitals at the central entrance and corners of the front. The parapet wall features a pressed metal cornice with scroll-like modillions and dentils; the frieze below has a swag motif. If the store is open, stop inside to view the unusual pressed metal ceiling.
A.M. Harris Dry Goods (1886)
345 E. Main
This building, the first to be built of
brick on this block, was originally for the Buddecke and Diehl freighting business in 1886. Notice the difference in the arched window surrounds compared to the later buildings. Prior to the construction of the Masonic Hall in 1911, the Masonic Lodge held its meetings in the upstairs of this building.
J.F. Wilson Building (1899)
347 E. Main
Built in 1899, J.F.. Wilson's Outfitters was "without a doubt the largest and finest clothing and gents furnishing house on the Western Slope."
The building represents high artistic values. The east side retains the original stone work. The cast iron pilasters are from the Union Iron and Foundry Company in St. Louis.