Walking Tour – Historic Tejon Street between Colorado and Platte

Walking Tour – Historic Tejon Street between Colorado and Platte

Bennett Brothers Building / Carlton Building

Incorporated in 1872, Colorado Springs has had its share of rowdy times and colorful characters. Many of the buildings constructed on Tejon Street during those early years still stand as a reflection of times past and a testament to their enduring spirit. Here are some of their stories to go along with your walking tour.

Start your walking tour at the city-owned parking garage at 215 N. Cascade Ave. Exit the garage and turn right on Platte Avenue. Turn right and proceed to Tejon Street. Your tour will go down the west side of Tejon until you reach Colorado Avenue. There, you’ll cross the street and proceed up the east side.

The Lennox/Albany Hotel, 226 N. Tejon St.

Now: The Albany Hotel / Mountain Chalet

Erected in 1902 by William Lennox, one of many millionaires created by the Cripple Creek bonanza. He opened a livery business in Colorado Springs as a 23-year-old in 1873. By 1881, he was the largest coal dealer in El Paso County and had purchased several Cripple Creek mining interests, including Robert Womack’s El Paso Claim.

The two first-floor storefronts housed at various times a music store, a creamery and a grocery store. The upper floors offered furnished rooms – first as the Lennox Hotel. It became the Albany by 1921.

Everhart Building, 17-31 E. Bijou St.

Now: Starbucks, Everest Tibet Imports

Built in 1897 by Mella Everhart. The architect was Thomas MacLaren, who also designed City Hall, City Auditorium, Ivywild School, Cragmor Sanitarium and the Manitou Springs Carnegie Library.

The upper floor apartments were home to notable Colorado Springs residents such as Spencer Penrose, Albert Purdy and Fred Ballard. The lower floor had, and still has, a variety of storefronts. 17 E. Bijou was home to the Pantatorium, a clothes cleaning and dying business, from 1901 until well into the 1950s. James Howard had a barber shop next door from 1911 until at least 1951. Tailor Alex Mackenzie had his shop a 21 E. Bijou over that same span. The Bijou Street side of the building, which now houses Starbucks and Bingo Burger, was Gutmann Drugs until 1921 and the Johnson-English Drug Co. through 1965.

Gray Rose, 24 N. Tejon St.

Now: Blondies

One of Colorado Springs’ oldest buildings, Sanborn fire insurance maps indicate it was built prior to 1883. Initially a grocery store and offices, for the next 55 years it would be home to photography studios, the telephone exchange and bookstores.

It became the Gray Rose in 1938, a combination beauty salon and upscale women’s wear store. Its 1947 remodeling gave it the iconic modern appearance it wore even after it closed in 1996.

"The new front of the Gray Rose features the new ‘angle’ entrance and is constructed of gleaming glass from the sidewalk to the top of the second floor," The Gazette-Telegraph said. "The trim is gray Vitrolite and the new neon sign is in keeping with the streamlined style developed throughout by the architect …"

Exchange Bank Building, 2 S. Tejon St.

Now: US Bank

This site at Pikes Peak and Tejon has been home to various banking institutions since 1872, with the current structure erected in 1909. One of the first buildings in Colorado Springs to use a steel skeleton, it was the tallest building in Colorado Springs at the time of its completion.

The Gazette reported that it was "beyond question the finest and most modern bank and office building west of the Missouri River."

Dern Building, 26-28 S. Tejon St.

Now: Sonterra Grill, Fujiyama

The Dern Company, which imported coffee and tea and made candy on site, occupied half of this building (No. 26) from its construction in 1911 until the late 1950s. Joseph Dern was a member of City Council from 1921-27.

No. 28 was occupied by a parade of business concerns, including furnished rooms to rent, a jeweler, a department store and a furniture store. Kaufman’s Department Store occupied No. 28 from 1938-48, when it moved to a larger space across the street. Hatch’s, an appliance, jewelry, radio and television store, moved in in 1953 and was still there through at least 1965.

Robertson Block/Robbins Corner, 32 S. Tejon St.

Now: Thirsty Parrot

Originally a three-story structure, this building housed a variety of businesses and offices on the first two levels from 1883-99. The third floor was a lodge for the Odd Fellows (IOOF). The Robbins clothing store moved in in 1899 and four generations of the family continued operating at this location until 1959.

Stratton Building/Kaufman’s Department Store, 27 S. Tejon St.

Now: U.S. Olympic Committee headquarters

Built in 1914 by the Stratton Estate (12 years after the death of Cripple Creek tycoon Winfield Scott Stratton), this building was designed by renowned Colorado Springs architect Thomas MacLaren.

One of the longest tenants of this building was M.K. Myers Jewelry Store, which operated from the building’s opening until at least into the 1960s.

Kaufman’s Department Store moved into this location from across the street in 1948 and with it came a dramatic remodeling that The Gazette described as "the most strikingly modern store between Chicago and the Pacific coast. … Finished in blue terra cotta, Colorado native red sandstone, and California redwood, with a front glass window-wall, it is the last word in modern buildings, it blends with the landscape and takes its color from the sky and red rocks of Colorado."

Hefley-Arcularius Drug Store/Murray Drug/Goodbar’s, 21 S. Tejon St.

Now: Jack Quinn’s

One of the oldest surviving buildings in the downtown area, it was likely already in operation as a dry goods store in 1883. The Hefley-Arcularius Drug Store moved in sometime between 1895 and 1900. By 1921, a Murray Drug Store had moved in. The Colorado Clothing Company was at this site in 1941, and in 1943 a different clothier, Goodbar’s, The Man’s Store took over. Two additional men’s stores and a florist operated here.

Hibbard & Company Department Store, 17-19 S. Tejon St.

Now: Chipotle

When the department store closed its doors for the final time in 1996, the business originally established by Cassius A. Hibbard had been serving the Colorado Springs area for 104 years. In a 1989 article, the Gazette-Telegraph called Hibbard & Company "the last independent department store in Colorado."

This building was erected in 1914 since Hibbard’s, which was established in 1892, had outgrown its previous location. Hibbard, his partner Melville B. Clotworthy and their descendants continued to operate the business into the 1990s.

Bennett Brothers Building/Carlton Building, 13-15 S. Tejon St.

Now: Ritz Grill

Edwin and Lorenzo Bennett arrived in Colorado Springs in 1876 due to Edwin’s health. By 1879 they had established a successful grocery store and branched out into real estate and loans by 1889. A 1918 profile of Edwin said that "their property holdings are extensive and valuable, placing them among the prosperous business men of the city."

To accommodate their growing concerns, the Bennett brothers had this building constructed between 1910-12. The street level was a storefront and the upper four stories were offices. The estate of Leslie G. Carlton purchased the building in 1943, renamed it and moved their offices here.

Several businesses operated out of the street-level storefront, most notably Ralph’s Drugs from 1947 until sometime beyond 1965.

Hagerman Block, 31 N. Tejon St.

Now: Famous Steakhouse

Built by railroad and mining tycoon James J. Hagerman in 1889-90, the Gazette wrote "the Bank and Hagerman buildings would be a credit to any city …"

Hagerman made his initial fortune in the iron business in the Midwest. He moved to Colorado Springs after developing tuberculosis and invested in successful mining and quarrying interests. He’s most famous for his development of the Colorado Midland Railway, which linked Colorado Springs, Leadville and Aspen.

The building has been the home of many businesses, including banks, restaurants, an abstract office and a bicycle shop.

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