Early restaurateur loved Glenwood Springs | PostIndependent.com

Early restaurateur loved Glenwood Springs

Willa SoncartyRegistrar, Frontier Historical Society and Museum
Photo Courtesy Frontier Historical SocietyA man walking along Seventh Street in about 1917 gazes toward Katie Benders Commercial Restaurant. For nearly 30 years, the Commercial Restaurant was a reliable dining place in Glenwood Springs, patronized by visitors and locals.

K.C.B. To those living in Glenwood Springs between 1886 and 1917, those initials represented quality dining. Katie C. Bender, proprietor of the Commercial Restaurant at 308 Seventh St., served up good food in generous proportions every day of the week, 24 hours per day, for a mere 25 cents. Her restaurant was a convenient respite for the weary train traveler, a community meeting place, and a place where business contacts and new friendships could be formed.Bender’s Commercial Restaurant was described in the Avalanche Echo Special Edition newspaper of May 1893 as “a large place, there being the spacious public dining room with its long lunch counter at one side and a number of private dining booths beside.” She was proud of her establishment, and, to show that pride, her restaurant’s silver was engraved with her initials, K.C.B. These same initials were engraved into restaurant’s front door.However, K.C.B. took on an additional meaning to some tourists visiting Glenwood Springs in the autumn of 1914. A visiting Englishman walking along Seventh Street saw the K.C.B on the Commercial Restaurant’s door, and interpreted the initials to indicate the location of a British military recruiting office. This interpretation would be logical, for, in Britain, K.C.B. stood for Knight Commander of the Bath, a chivalrous military order. The Englishman, filled with desire to enlist with the British Army to fight against the Germans in World War I, entered the restaurant to inquire about enlistment. While he could not enlist to aid his country, chances are he was offered a good meal at the Commercial Restaurant.Love of community and love of work was reflected in Bender’s kindness and generosity to her employees. She showered her staff with gifts and high praise. Children who visited her restaurant during the holidays received cookies, candy and an orange. She sent gifts to underprivileged children in every state in the union.Due to declining health, Bender was forced to close the Commercial Restaurant, and shortly thereafter, in 1917, she died. She was laid to rest beside her husband, Joseph, in Linwood Cemetery.”Frontier Diary” is provided to the Post Independent by the Frontier Historical Society and Museum, 1001 Colorado Ave., Glenwood Springs. Winter hours are 1-4 p.m. Monday and Thursday through Saturday. For more information, call 945-4448.

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