The photo in last week’s paper was identified by Andrea Maxey and by email from Matt Hutson. Others also knew the photo. It was BV Main Street from about 1881.
This photo says it is a 4th of July celebration. A similar photo says it was to welcome Williams Jennings Bryan to town on the train. The Rio Grande tracks are in the foreground.
Most of the buildings you see burned to the ground in two different fires. The ones on the north side of the tracks were ignited by cinders from the train.
Identifying the buildings with a magnifying glass I can read what some of the businesses were. On the north side were Wood Brothers Cash Store, Forwarders Wholesale & Retail out fitting depot, Hay and Grain, North America Smoking Supplies and J.C. Irving Wholesale & Retail.
Across from the welcome sign on the left was the original Marks wooden building which was rebuilt out of brick in 1890 and recently had Gone to the Dogs in it. This building is being restored.
Further down the north side can be seen the belfry of the fire department which burned in 1934 and beyond that is the cupola of the courthouse. The south side had a News Depot, and the dark wood two-story building is the Rio Grande Railroad Hospital.
It is still standing today. It was recently restored and has Sundog Colorado business in it now. Some of the small one-story buildings beyond the dark two-story one are occupied. One is Sister’s Remembered and Aspen Leaf Publishing.
There were numerous fires in town and despite the DeRemer Hook and Ladder Fire Department’s efforts the wooden buildings could not be saved. A fire fed by strong winds in March of 1883 destroyed all the buildings in the first two blocks on the north side and most of the ones on the south side.
This resulted in many of the businesses being re built with brick. There was an active brick factory located about where the correctional facility is now.