714 Grand has long history in Glenwood
Frontier Historical Society
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
While Visiting at the Famous Glenwood Springs Do Not Fail to See your Reflection in “The Mirror.”
– Mirror Saloon Advertisement, Basalt Journal, Nov. 30, 1907
On Sept. 28, 1884, Margaret Dunscomb, a woman with vast real estate experience, purchased Lot D in Block 44 in Glenwood Springs for $350. A lot created from a resurvey of the town, her property would become addressed as 714 Grand Ave.
Sometime between January and December 1886, Dunscomb had built on the property a wood framed structure. On Dec. 16, 1886, Margaret sold the lot and completed building to T.A. Hawley and D.W. Reese for $3,300. Hawley and Reese opened a saloon, joining two others in the 700 block of Grand Avenue. Alcohol, along with gambling supplied by Francis Smith and Frank Foust, was served in the front, with a restaurant operating in the back.
On Nov. 18, 1887, Chester Baker tried his luck at faro in Hawley and Reese’s saloon. He lost twice and was barred by Francis Smith from any further credit. Threatening words exchanged, and Smith and Baker left the establishment. A few minutes later, both returned armed. Baker lured patrons and Smith to the bar with the promise of a free round, to which Smith made a curt and crude insult. A fistfight ensued and ended with Smith fatally shot by Baker. A 25-year-old cook, Joseph Mathison, who had been reading a newspaper at a nearby table, was killed by one of Baker’s stray bullets.
Joe Keating opened “The Mirror” in the building in 1890. Keating advertised imported spirits, a mahogany bar, statuary and tile flooring. The Mirror Saloon changed proprietorship frequently, from the Welch brothers and Long in 1897 (who painted the front of the building a beckoning red color), to J.W. Baldwin in 1897, to H.W. Smith in 1900. It promised Aspen visitors the availability of Aspen newspapers. It was where Eagle County resident, 70-year-old William Kelley, dropped dead in his favorite chair in 1899. While ownership changed, the location remained constant.
For the “low sum and price of $6,500,” Charles Lang purchased the Mirror Saloon complete with land, building and fixtures at a discount in 1903 from Ed S. Hughes. In return, Lang promised to purchase all of his liquors, beers, tobacco products and other bar supplies directly and exclusively from Hughes at the prices he could find anywhere in Glenwood Springs for the next three years. Lang’s mortgage would be due to Hughes immediately if these terms were violated. This agreement represented the monopoly control Hughes created within Glenwood Springs to dictate pricing, supply and even the establishment of saloons, and resulted in a scandal for Hughes and town officials a year later.
As the 20th century progressed, town officials slowly moved toward a moral cleanup and banned gambling. Charles Lang of the Mirror – along with owners of the Glenwood Bar, the Topic Bar and the Silver Club – defiantly opened their establishments to gambling during Strawberry Day 1906. All were found guilty of violating the gambling code, and all gaming equipment was disposed of in the Garfield County Courthouse furnace. Lang continued to operate the Mirror Saloon until at least 1910.
Prohibition took effect in Colorado on Jan. 1, 1916, and by then the Mirror Saloon had become Mangnall’s Cigar Store. In the 1940s, 714 Grand housed a liquor store owned by Bud Adriance. For the past several decades, the building dually housed Glenwood Shoe Service and King’s Barber Shop.
For over 125 years, Margaret Dunscomb’s building truly reflected the community’s social and economic changes. Slated now for demolition, it again reflects an ever-changing Glenwood Springs.
Willa Kane is former archivist of and a current volunteer with the Frontier Historical Society and Museum. “Frontier Diary,” which appears the first Tuesday of every month, is provided to the Post Independent by the museum, 1001 Colorado Ave., Glenwood Springs. Summer hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, call 945-4448.
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