731 Grand added to ‘local landmark’ list
A downtown building that housed the offices of early 20th century Congressman Edward T. Taylor and once served as chambers for Glenwood Springs City Council meetings has been added to the city’s list of historic landmarks.
Local landmark designation was formally granted by city officials earlier this month for what’s known as the Kamm-Dever Building at 731 Grand Ave.
It joins other recent additions to the list over the past two years, including the former Durand Opera House/Odean Theater at 312 Seventh St., which is now home to the Eagles Lodge, and the Kinney House at 809 Blake Ave.
The Kamm-Dever Building is believed to be the first brick building constructed in Glenwood Springs. It was built in 1884 by Henry R. Kamm, who had come to town after working as a miner and freighter in numerous Colorado mining camps.
He operated Kamm Mercantile at the location for several years, which served as Glenwood’s primary source for groceries, hardware, clothing and farming implements before the turn of the last century.
Kamm also served as vice president of the First National Bank and was an early Garfield County commissioner, according to information compiled by the city’s Historic Preservation Commission.
In 1890, the building served as the City Council meeting chambers. Over the years, it has housed a couple of different drug stores, including Howard’s Drug and Busy Corner Drug.
Today, it’s home to the Confetti Design women’s clothing store, Watkins’ Jewelers and the Grand Optics eyeglass shop, while the upstairs apartments are in the process of being renovated.
But those upstairs halls probably have a lot of stories to tell about early city, county, state and even national politics.
In 1910, part of the second floor housed the offices of Taylor, the prominent local attorney who went on to serve in the Colorado Senate from 1896 to 1908, as well as multiple terms in Congress from 1909 until his death in 1941.
In 1926, Tom Dever, who would be mayor of Glenwood from 1936-1944, moved his established jewelry business into the building. In 1930, he purchased a half interest in the property.
It’s been in the Dever family ever since, and is now owned by Richard Dever, Tom’s grandson, who lives in Denver.
While on City Council, Tom Dever oversaw the city’s purchase of the electric and water utilities from private owners, and was largely responsible for lobbying the Navy to establish a convalescent hospital at the Hotel Colorado during World War II.
“I wish those brick walls could talk,” Richard Dever told the Post Independent. “They were made from Colorado dirt, and only they know the history of all that’s happened in that building.”
Some of those old bricks got toppled a couple of weeks ago when a car jumped the curb and smashed into the south side of the building near the jewelry store.
Dever said the repair work is coming along fine, though some of the bricks must be replaced. Eventually, he said he would like to consider doing some more extensive remodeling of the building to return some of the original historical elements, though he has no immediate plans.
BEING A LANDMARK
The building remains in good condition, although it has been significantly altered over the past 50 years, including an exterior stucco finish that covers up the original bricks.
Gretchen Ricehill, senior planner for the city of Glenwood who works with the Historic Preservation Commission, said local landmark designation for commercial properties does not carry any specific economic incentives from the city.
It can help property owners qualify for certain types of grants through the state historical society, however, she said.
According to the city’s historic preservation guidelines for consideration of landmark status, such designation is an official recognition that a property is important to the area’s history and culture. Landmarks can be buildings, objects, landscapes and archaeological sites.
“Local landmarks are buildings and places that are significant to the city’s historical, architectural and cultural character,” according to a description included in a booklet listing more than 20 historic landmarks that is regularly updated.
Others on the list include the Cardiff Schoolhouse, the Coryell House at 911 Pitkin Ave., First Presbyterian Church, First Church of Christ/Scientist and several residences on the east side of Glenwood Springs.
Several buildings that are listed on the National and/or State Registers of Historic Places are also included among the city’s landmarks, including the Hotel Colorado, the Citizens National Bank Building, the Glenwood Train Station, the Hot Springs Pool Bathhouse, Yampa Hot Springs and the former Glenwood Springs Hydroelectric Plant, which now houses the Center for the Arts.
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