This historic building was built in 1882. The false front is the oldest part of the building that had numerous additions and removals between 1883 and 1908.
Originally the false front covered four lots but has been reduced to one and one-half lot as seen now. Even though the writing on the building mentions St. Elmo there is no record of it being used for a St. Elmo livery.
The property was purchased from the Buena Vista Land Company in 1879 by Henry and Emma Moody. He was the justice of the peace in 1880. The Moody’s built the building in 1882-83. It was first used as a livery.
The Buena Vista Democrat paper of March, 1883 carried an advertisement for the St. Julien Livery. It is advertised in the local papers as a livery with different names until 1926.
The Martin Mason family owned the property from 1905 until 1943.
Orley Mason, the son, worked with his father Martin and after his father’s death he managed and expanded the business to include an automobile garage.
In 1926, the business included the auto garage, an ice and coal business and the livery. Orley was elected Chaffee County Commissioner in 1916 and 1920. He died in 1930 and his sister Mary Mason took over the business.
Mary was BV Post mistress from 1917 to 1921. She also was active in the Congregational Church, the Missionary society and the Fortnightly Club. She sold the business to Ed and Louise Steel.
This photo shows the Steel Family in front of the building with the sign, Steel Ice and Coal. The gas pumps are in the photo, and it included a Conoco bulk station.
The two children are Edwin and his sister Edwina. The photo is dated 1938. Ed Steel’s wife Geraldine still lives on the family ranch in the area.
Phillip and Dorothy German purchased the property in 1946. They changed the name to Buena Vista Ice and Coal Company. Phil was on the BV Volunteer fire department and was a justice of the peace.
Phil died unexpectedly in 1956 and Dorothy and her son Eddie continued the business under the name of Hi-Way Ice and Coal Company. Dorothy died in 1972.
Eddie and his wife Mary Lou continued to own the building but it was not used as a commercial business after 1972, according to the county assessor cards. It was sold 2 years ago.
The building is historically significant because it is one of the few remaining false front buildings in Buena Vista.
It is frame construction with dropped siding and metal stamped to resemble brick as well as the rolled asphalt; all contribute to the period of significance.
It served as a livery, stable, feed store, ice and coal business and a garage for 90 years. Because its location near the railroad tracks and Main Street, it has not changed its importance to the commercial life of the town of Buena Vista.
For more information on the heritage behind the history of Buena Vista, visit buenavistaheritage.org