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South Park National Heritage Area
1246 CR 16
PO Box 1373
Fairplay, CO 80440

719-836-4273

eduvic@parkco.us

Photos used in this tour were provided by the Park County Local History Archives and the Town of Alma.

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Tour List Index

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#1 Alma School

#2 Palmer Hotel & Alma Grill

#3 Powless Office & Galloway House

#4 Phelps House

#5 Clesson Cabin

#6 James Moynahan House

#7 Treweek House

#8 Judge Neuhaus Residence

#9 The Schwartz Hotel

#10 Mulock House

#11 Singleton House

#12 Hunter House

#13 Mount Bross Tourist Camp

#14 Mary Gately House

#15 Alma Ladies Aid Hall

#16 Alma Community Church

#17 Boston & Colorado Smelting Company

#18 Bilto Grocery

#19 Alma Club & Alma Pharmacy

#20 Gately Motor Company

#1 Alma School

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  • Alma students, 1930

  • Alma School that burned in 1928


 

59 E. Buckskin Street

After the 1887 Alma School burned to the ground in May 1928, the town rallied and began construction of this building shortly afterward. Completed by 1929, the new school was built in the Mission Revival style, which became popular in the late 1920s.

Increased mining activity in the Alma area prompted a rise in population, and the new school soon outgrew its space. In October 1935, discussions regarding expansion began in earnest. Principal H.H. Rutherford and the school board sought assistance from the federal Public Works Administration (PWA) and secured $13,800 in funding for construction. Denver architect Frank Frewen designed the addition, which complemented the Mission Revival design of the existing school. By August 1936, work was completed and 140 students attended school that fall.

The Alma School served the town's educational needs until 1962. In 1967, the school was deeded to Alma and now serves as the seat of the town's government and as a community center. The Alma School is listed on the State Register of Historic Places.
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#2 Palmer Hotel & Alma Grill

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  • Hotel and bar on right, 1930s

  • Hotel and bar on right, early 1940s


 

12 S. Main Street

In 1935, fire destroyed a number of businesses along the east side of Main Street, including the ones originally located on the Alma Hotel and Alma's Only Bar sites. As early as 1886, a saloon and billiards hall sat on the site of what is today the Alma Hotel; later, a drug store occupied a small building next door to the saloon. Where Alma's Only Bar stands today, James Moynahan's general store operated for many years. After the 1935 fire, the buildings you see today were quickly constructed to meet the needs of the busy town. The Palmer Hotel, Miner's Club, and Alma Grill occupied the buildings early on. Originally stucco, the buildings' exteriors were modified later to more closely resemble the historic false-front stores built in Alma during the late 1800s.
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#3 Powless Office & Galloway House

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40 S. Main Street

Portions of this structure date to the early 1880s, when Lee Hayes, a civil engineer and U.S. deputy mineral surveyor, constructed a small office building on this site. In 1884, Hayes sold his business to engineers/surveyors William H. Powless and Hiram Phillips. Powless served as county surveyor for many years and surveyed many of Park County's roads and town plats. His work played an important role in the establishment of water rights in Park County, and his surveys and testimony were pivotal in the water adjudications of 1889 and 1913. Around 1900, he apparently converted his office to a home, likely moving his office elsewhere. In 1919, Powless sold the residence to the Gerald Galloway family. Galloway, an engineer/surveyor, succeeded Powless as county surveyor and is responsible for the town plat of Alma. His wife taught music in Alma for many years. The stucco addition to the north once had a separate entrance and is thought to have housed the assay office of James Dollison after its construction in the late 1930s.
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#4 Phelps House

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  • Ethel Harper and Von Van Epps, 1930s


 

44 S. Main Street

Local carpenter Charles L. Phelps completed construction of this house in early 1902. Phelps, whose health was apparently poor, reportedly spent the winter in warmer climates from time to time. In 1908-09, Phelps oversaw repairs to the reservoir dam in Montgomery Gulch for the Snowstorm Placer Co. The Phelps family apparently left Alma around 1911, likely due to Charles's health issues. In 1943, owner Charles Aicher sold the home to local mechanic Ernie Bender. Ethel Harper, daughter of well-known local photographer E.E. Van Epps, and her family occupied the home in later years. The home's turned porch posts are indicative of its early construction date, and the original wood siding remains intact beneath the asphalt shingles.

Please respect private property and only view this building from the street.
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#5 Clesson Cabin

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  • Ivan Baldock and family


 

217 S. Main Street

Built on land that was once part of the Alma Placer, this log cabin is believed to be one of the oldest surviving residences in Alma. Presumably constructed in the early to mid-1870s, the building served as a stage stop before becoming a residence, some say. During the early 1900s, owner Ivan Baldock ran a livery stable, worked as a teamster in the mines, and hauled timber and freight. These business ventures were located just south of the log cabin, which Baldock let to the Clesson family. After Baldock's death in 1943, the Bank of Fairplay eventually acquired the property, yet the Clessons continued to live in the house rent free into the 1990s. The family lived without indoor plumbing—the home's historic outhouse has been relocated but stands nearby—and locals remember the Clessons drawing water from a spring located across the highway, using a yoke to carry buckets of water back to the cabin. The Clesson Cabin is a Park County Local Historic Landmark and is currently being rehabilitated as a visitor's center and office space for the Alma Foundation.
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#6 James Moynahan House

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  • Moynahan family, 1940s


 

55 S. Pine Street

This large two-story residence, which the Moynahan family called ”Spring House,” is believed to have begun as a log cabin in the early mining town of Buckskin Joe, which was located about a mile and a half west of present-day Alma. Local mine supervisor James A. Moynahan apparently moved the cabin to Alma in 1873 and opened the Spring House Hotel. By 1886, he had built additions to the south and rear of the cabin and had clad the log walls with wood siding. A third log addition was built on the rear sometime before 1896.

Born on June 7, 1842, in Greenfield, Michigan, near Detroit, Moynahan worked in the copper mines of the Upper Peninsula before enlisting in the Union Army at the age of 20. In 1866, he married fellow Irish-American Mary Monaghan. The couple immediately left for the wilderness of Colorado and settled in Buckskin Joe. During his lifetime, Moynahan was involved in a wide variety of successful mining ventures, notably the Orphan Boy Mine.

In the 1870s, Moynahan expanded his business interests to include a general merchandizing business and livery stable. In 1880, he opened a general store in Alma with branches in Fairplay and Leadville. The family also acquired ranch property in Park County, where they raised horses and cattle. Moynahan became one of Alma's most prominent and politically active citizens. A driving force behind the town's incorporation in 1873, he served on its first board of trustees. In 1876, he sat on the Alma School Board and was postmaster. Before moving to Alma, he had served as a Park County commissioner from 1870 to 1873. In 1876, he was elected to the state Senate and re-elected in 1882, representing Park and Fremont counties for four years and serving as president pro tempore of the Senate for two years. At the Republican conventions in 1886 and 1888, Moynahan's name was put forward for governor, but he did not win the nomination. Alma residents elected Moynahan mayor for three consecutive years beginning in 1896.

After 1884, the Moynahans split their time between their homes in Denver and Alma. The couple raised five children at Spring House: Mary, Alice, Ambrose Edwin, James W., and Clarissa. In 1919, James Moynahan died in Denver, ten years after the sudden death of his wife, Mary, from appendicitis. Spring House has remained in the Moynahan family for the past 145 years.

Please respect private property and only view this building from the street.
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#7 Treweek House

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39 S. Pine Street

English immigrant William Hosking Treweek, built this house in the 1870s. Treweek came to the United States as a child, living in Michigan before arriving in Montgomery in 1869 to work in the mines. Treweek's wife Christina and three of their four children joined him shortly afterward. The family soon moved to Alma, where Christina gave birth to five more children. The Treweeks apparently split their time between Alma and their stately brick house on South Clarkson Street in Denver.

Treweek, a highly successful mining entrepreneur, made a name for himself as captain of the Moose Mine. He later supervised the Mudsill Mine and in 1888 enjoyed a major strike at the Bullion Mine. In addition to his mining ventures, Treweek developed land in the town of Alma, constructing several businesses in the early 1880s on what was known as Treweek's block. With fellow Englishman William H. Grose, Treweek platted and developed the Grose and Treweek Addition (1881) from a portion of their placer mine in south Alma. Active in Republican politics, Treweek ran for county commissioner in 1885. Deeply disappointed when he lost the race, Treweek chastised Alma residents for their lack of support and promptly raised his price on land earmarked for a new school. James Moynahan stepped in amid the controversy and donated land for the school. William and Christina's son William Henry H. Treweek also made his living from the mines and lived in the house with his wife, Mamie, and two children until his death in the 1920s. According to locals, the residence became a boarding house in later years, providing rooms for itinerant miners. After the front porch collapsed, the current owners, former Alma Mayor Bob Ensign and his wife, Sally, saved the nearly 140-year-old chamfered columns and rebuilt the porch to match historic photos of the home. The home also houses Sewing by Sally.

Please respect private property and only view this building from the street.
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#8 Judge Neuhaus Residence

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During the 1870s, the Mt. Lincoln Improvement Co. sold lots in Alma, including this one. In 1879, the company sold the property to Sarah Rey for $1. The land exchanged hands a number of times before Prussian immigrant Maria Neuhaus acquired the property in 1884. The cabin's exact date of construction is unknown, but likely occurred shortly after Neuhaus acquired the land. Neuhaus moved to Alma from Chicago in 1882 to join her son Robert F. Neuhaus, daughter Sophia, and sister Anna Savage. Robert Neuhaus followed in the footsteps of his deceased father and practiced law, serving Park County as justice of the peace for the 14th Precinct. Sophia Neuhaus eventually returned to Chicago, where she taught German to high school students. Later in life, Robert Neuhaus advertised his services as a notary public and lawyer specializing in real estate transactions. Maria Neuhaus died in 1909 and was buried in Buckskin Cemetery; her son died shortly afterward.

Please respect private property and only view this building from the street.
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#9 The Schwartz Hotel

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  • 1989

  • 1989


 

48 N. Pine Street

Pennsylvania natives Samuel B. and Anna E. Swartz, later spelled Schwartz, came to Alma in the early 1880s. Samuel Schwartz worked the mines, initially as superintendent of the Mount Lincoln Consolidated Co., though the couple was involved in numerous other mining ventures. In the early 1880s, Samuel and Anna began acquiring lots on Pine Street. Sometime before 1890, the Schwartzs constructed this large two-story Queen Anne-style hotel, which replaced a number of smaller cabins. From 1891 to 1893, Samuel Schwartz served on the city council. In 1900, Anna purchased the nearby St. Nicholas Hotel. Anna capably ran both hotels, which attracted a wide variety of guests, including Governor James B. Orman, who stayed at the Schwartz Hotel when he visited the nearby Excelsior Mine in 1901. In 1908, ornamental trim typical of many turn-of-the-century residential structures was reportedly added to the building by a relative of Anna's. Not long after the St. Nicholas Hotel was lost to a major fire in 1915, the Schwartzs, at the time in their 70s and 80s, retired to Denver, moving in with Anna's brother John Zimmers. From the 1930s to the 1960s, Lena Avery operated the hotel while her husband Wilson ran the Alma Community Store.

Please respect private property and only view this building from the street.
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#10 Mulock House

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The fires that swept through Alma during the early 20th century ravaged many of its earliest residences; however, a number of fine homes from the Victorian era survive along Pine Street, including this residence. Joshua Mulock likely constructed this home after purchasing the property from the Mount Lincoln Improvement Co. in 1880, though the home may have been built earlier. Current owners Erik and Beth Swanson believe the house was built in the early 1870s and consisted of four rooms, including a parlor, with the second story added in 1877.

Mulock arrived in Colorado from New York in 1868 with his brother, Ira Mulock. Together, the brothers established a ranch on Badger Creek near Black Mountain. In the 1870s, Joshua married Clara Halstad. He continued to be involved in the cattle business but pursued other interests as well—the couple owned the meat market in Alma, and Joshua was involved in a number of mining ventures. As a graduate of Yale University, Mulock was highly respected in the area, serving as county commissioner in 1879. When Clara passed away in 1899, her funeral was "one of the largest ever witnessed in Alma." Mulock, affectionately referred to as "Uncle Joshua," died of pneumonia at age 81 in 1916. Both he and Clara Halstad are buried in Buckskin Cemetery. The house still is owned by descendants of "Uncle Joshua."

Please respect private property and only view this building from the street.
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#11 Singleton House

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  • 1930s


 

233 N. Pine Street

Merchant, bank owner, and mining entrepreneur Joseph Henry Singleton built this simple Victorian era home shortly after acquiring the property in 1882 from the Mount Lincoln Improvement Co. Evidence suggests that the home began as a smaller one-story residence with the second story added in the late 1890s.

A native of Canada, Singleton came to Alma in 1880. His wife, Carrie, and their two young children, John Clarke (Jack) and Norma, soon followed. A third son, Joseph Frederick (Fred), was born in 1887. Joseph Henry initially worked as a freighter and then managed James Moynahan's Fairplay mercantile store before opening his own store in Alma in 1882. In 1888, Singleton sold his store to Moynahan and became cashier of the Bank of Alma. Nine years later, he purchased the Bank of Alma from C.G. Hathaway and E.P. Arthur, buying the Bank of Fairplay the following year.

After Joseph Henry's death in 1914, Singleton's sons, Jack and Fred, took over the bank. Daughter Norma and her husband, Harry Rutherford, inherited the house on Pine Street. Rutherford served as principal of the Alma School for many years. Their three children, Harry, Fanny, and Thomas (T.A.), all attended the University of Colorado. The home remained in the Rutherford family until 1996 and has changed relatively little since the late 1890s. The rear kitchen area was modified and a cold-storage room constructed at the time the second story was added. The home's historic two-seater outhouse has been relocated but remains on site.

Please respect private property and only view this building from the street.
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#12 Hunter House

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  • 1930s

  • Hunter House on right


 

241 N. Main Street

Little is known about the earliest owners of this log residence on Main Street, but Park County assessor records suggest this home may have been built as early as 1866, seven years before the town of Alma was incorporated. Like the Moynahan House, the home is constructed of hand-hewn logs covered with clapboard siding, though in this case only the front façade has been finished with a combination of clapboard and shingle siding. The home's bay windows and decorative detailing suggest that the owners enjoyed some financial success. During the early 1900s, William H. and Hannah Hunter owned the residence and it is possible that the building's decorative features were added during their tenure. The Hunters successfully operated the Capital (Capitol) Hotel between 1901 and 1916. In 1911, the Hunters also acquired the Windsor and Fairplay hotels in nearby Fairplay. At the time, the owners were lauded for their "excellent table and general high-class hotel service." Like many Alma residents, William Hunter involved himself in a variety of businesses, including ranching and mining as well as hostelry. He also served as mayor of Alma in 1910. The Hunters sold the residence in 1916. The original log home has been modified over time, with additions made to the rear and south elevations. Regardless of these changes, the home appears much as it did during Alma's mining boom years.

Please respect private property and only view this building from the street.
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#13 Mount Bross Tourist Camp

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272 N. Main Street

What is today the Bristlecone Montessori School is all that remains of a large cottage camp that was constructed by the Gately Motor Co. on this site in 1932. Known as the Mount Bross Tourist Camp, the site included twelve "roomy frame cottages, properly furnished and each supplied with hot and cold running water and a garage." Cottage camps, a precursor to the motor court and later the modern motel, were a common sight along popular highways in Park County and generally consisted of small cottages surrounding a larger lodge. This building was constructed shortly after the cottages were completed and served as the office and home of the court's caretakers as well as the temporary headquarters of the Gately Motor Co. after its garage was destroyed in a 1937 fire. This camp was managed by the Gately family until 1947, and the cottages were demolished shortly thereafter.

Please respect private property and only view this building from the street.
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#14 Mary Gately House

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  • 1940s


 

236 N. Main Street

The Mary Gately House and its garage were constructed in 1935 for Mary Gately, one of six Gately siblings who moved to Alma around 1930 from Rifle, Colorado. Two of Mary's brothers established the Gately Motor Co. in Alma, while another brother, Sydney, served as general manager of the London Mining and Milling Co. in nearby Mosquito Gulch. Mary worked as a bookkeeper for the Gately Motor Co. At the start of World War II, she sought work elsewhere but frequently returned to her home in Alma. The residence is a fine example of the type and style of home built in Alma during the mining boom of the 1930s. Gately expanded the house over time, constructing at least two additions that followed the original style of the home. The garage has changed very little since it was first built and is one of the few surviving, unaltered garages from the 1930s in Alma. The garage's large size reflects the importance of the automobile to the Gately family.

Please respect private property and only view this building from the street.
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#15 Alma Ladies Aid Hall

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  • 1940s


 

186 N. Main Street

Now known as the Alma Ladies Aid Hall, this building began as the office building and scale house for the Fanny Barrett Mining Association. The manufacturing facility of the Fanny Barrett Smelting Works, located to the north of the office, began operations in 1880 but closed shortly afterward. Oral histories claim the building later served as offices for the Moose Mining Co. and the Dolly Varden Mine, with the scale house continuing to weigh the burros and wagons employed to transport ore for many years.

The Alma Ladies Aid Society acquired the building in the late 1910s or 1920s. Created in 1894, the Ladies' Aid Society of the Christian Church "...visited the sick, pieced quilts, made bonnets and aprons to sell, sewed carpet rags, hemmed tea towels, tacked comforters, and aided specific church members who needed help." Locals recall the ladies hosting dances and box suppers in the building. Christmas plays, Halloween parties, birthdays, and funeral receptions were all housed under the roof of the former smelting office. While many fraternal organizations for men existed in the 19th and early 20th centuries, there were few outlets for women. The Ladies Aid Society provided a vehicle for community-minded ladies to serve the greater good of their communities through fundraising, outreach, and direct relief. The cultural spirit of the Alma Ladies Aid Society lives on in the community activities and events that take place in Alma today. The Alma Ladies Aid Hall is a Park County Local Historic Landmark.
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#16 Alma Community Church

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184 N. Main Street

In May 1936, during the height of the Great Depression, construction began on the Alma Community Church. Despite the national economic downturn, business in Alma boomed during the 1930s as gold and silver prices rose and technical advancements encouraged new mining activity in the Mosquito Range. Local residents funded the church project themselves, with many individuals donating their labor as well. It is said that the stones used in the construction were salvaged from a large rubble stone chimney that was once part of the original 1862 county courthouse in Buckskin Joe. Designed in the Rustic style, the building's form and materials echo those of early pioneer buildings. This style of architecture grew in popularity during the 1920s and 1930s, especially in the mountain communities of Colorado.

In the late 1800s, Alma supported a Catholic church and a Methodist church, as well as the Mission chapel, where sermons, community lectures, and concerts were regularly held. The Alma Community Church stands not far from where the Mission chapel once stood. As a non-denominational place of worship, a popular site for community events, and the only surviving church from Alma's past, the stone church carries forward the spirit of those earlier places of worship. The Alma Community Church is listed on the State Register of Historic Places.
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#17 Boston & Colorado Smelting Co.

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  • 1930s


 

112 N. Main Street

These are the only surviving buildings of the once large facilities of the Boston and Colorado Smelting Co. Other smelters in the area included the Fanny Barrett Smelting Works, the Mount Lincoln Smelting Works, and the London Mining Co. smelter. Many of the hills surrounding Alma were clear-cut for timber to power the blast furnaces at the smelters.

The Boston and Colorado Smelting Co. office building was built shortly after the company's smelter opened in 1873. At one time, the smelter treated as much as 90 percent of South Park's ore. The two-story section housed offices, with an assay office located at the rear of the building. The foreman's living quarters were located in the one-story shed-roofed section to the south. Behind the office and living quarters is a stone structure that was once part of the smelting facility, most likely the engine and boiler room. Constructed of random-coursed rubble stone with arched brick lintels over the doors and timber lintels over the windows, this building is the only intact 19th-century stone building within the Alma town limits.

After the railroad reached Alma Junction in 1882, a number of area smelters closed as it became more profitable to ship ore to larger smelting facilities in Denver and Pueblo. After the repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act precipitated the Panic of 1893, silver prices plunged. Alma's mines and mills could no longer operate profitably and the remaining smelters in town closed. The Boston and Colorado smelter operated for about 15 years, presumably closing in the late 1880s.
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#18 Bilto Grocery

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24 N. Main Street

After fire destroyed a large part of Alma's Main Street in 1935, a number of new buildings quickly rose up in their place, including this one. Increased mining activity in the Alma area during the 1930s encouraged the growth of commercial ventures that serviced local residents and itinerant miners. Locals remember the building as a grocery store operated by a variety of individuals including Del Oxford and Chuck Bilto. The building later housed a thrift store and, in the 1970s, a tent, tipi, and canvas shop.

In 1973, the façade of the building was modified to mimic the historic false-front stores of the 1800s. However, the majority of the building's 1936 storefront remains intact, including the recessed entry and transom windows typical of 1930s commercial buildings.
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#19 Alma Club & Alma Pharmacy

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  • 1920s

  • 1930s

  • 1940s


 

9-11 S. Main Street

In 1937, fire swept through Alma's Main Street, severely damaging the grocery store that occupied part of this site, leaving only the concrete block walls. The town quickly rebounded, reconstructing the building, which housed a popular bar, the Alma Club, during the 1950s. In the more recent past, the front of the building was altered to mimic the façade of the historic St. Nicholas Hotel, which burned to the ground in 1915. In 2008, Al-Mart opened its doors in the Alma Club space. The building to the north, which Al-Mart also occupies, was also rebuilt after the 1937 fire, closely replicating the circa 1910 commercial building destroyed in the fire. The reconstructed building housed the Alma Pharmacy until the mid-1940s and has changed very little since that time. The building still retains the distinctive inset entrance and transom windows common to early 20th-century commercial buildings. Today, the building houses the Al-Mart General Store.
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#20 Gately Motor Company

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  • First Gately garage

  • After the 1930 fire


 

13-15 S. Main Street

This building is the third Gately Motor Co. garage to be built in Alma since Fred and Glen Gately established the company in 1930. The Gately Motor Co. offered a variety of services, operating as a bulk petroleum distributorship, service station, trucking company, and car dealership. The Gately company's garages were frequently plagued by fires, the first occurring less than a year after the garage opened when the heating boiler exploded and engulfed the old livery building in flames. Ironically, the town was storing its chemical fire engine in the Gately garage at the time of the fire. Within a few months, the Gately garage was rebuilt, and Glen Gately managed the company along with his sister, Mary Gately, for several years until another fire destroyed the garage in 1937. The current building was constructed after the 1937 fire. The only modification to the building since that time is the replacement of the overhead door on the west elevation.
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