Mile-High Meskers

Detail of a Mesker Brothers Iron Works storefront column at 132 East First Street in Salida, Colorado.

First in a series of upcoming articles about Mesker facades is Putting On a Good Front in the August issue of Colorado Country Life, a monthly magazine for the Colorado Rural Electric Association. The article was written by Jim Winnerman with photographs by yours truly. As usual, Jim does a great job of summarizing the history and profiling specific towns and buildings. I especially enjoy other interviewees and their comments about the facades. I’m a known quantity but it is comforting to know there are plenty of people out there who appreciate these resources. In addition to the online and print versions, the magazine also posts a digital replica of the print version though at the time of this post the August edition has not yet been uploaded.

Without ruining the suspense, I wanted to elaborate a bit on a couple of points in the article. First, because of editorial deadlines, the numbers of identified facades are “old.” For the latest, one can always refer to this blog and a summary on the home page. I’ve just posted about the 2,500th Mesker in Belton, Texas, which includes a statistical breakdown of the facades. The number of Colorado Meskers identified thus far is still 78, as mentioned in the article, but with over 800 projected original installations in the state, a few more should eventually be found. The current listings are available here.

Additionally, the article mentions my 2008 trip to Ouray, Colorado, where at the invitation of the Ouray County Historical Society, I presented a lecture and conducted a walking tour of their fourteen remaining Mesker facades, Wright’s Hall (1888) being the most spectacular of them all and easily one of the best examples in the country. I really enjoyed the beautiful town of Ouray and I thought that the walking tour was particularly worthwhile as we were able to engage with the buildings right there on the street. I have done one other Mesker facade walking tour, with several dozen people in attendance, during a 2010 statewide historic preservation conference in New Harmony, Indiana. Both tours were great and I hope there are other venues for such events in the future.

Mesker walking tour, August 30, 2008, in Ouray, Colorado.

Mesker walking tour, April 6, 2010, in New Harmony, Indiana. Image courtesy of Mike Bell.

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