by Carolyn Newman
WALSENBURG- Tucked away in a downtown alley behind the Community Bank is a sturdy two-story brick building linked to horse-and-wagon days.
The metal shuttered doors and a wooden chute jutting out add to the mystery connected to stories of ice cream and hay and grain.
The old 1907 Sanborn fire insurance map give a clue to the age because this building is not on the map but is on the 1912 one – listed as a hay warehouse. Jewel Krier Geiger and sister Pauline Krier Santi helped solve the mystery. Their father, Paul Krier, and family owned the Krier General Merchandise Store which now houses April’s Attic, on the northwest corner of Sixth and Main, Walsenburg. The brick building was close enough for hay storage, and probably, grain. The store owners had to take horses and wagons to the railroad terminus at Cucharas Junction, six miles east of Walsenburg, for the store supplies. Or perhaps the stored hay and grain were sold to store customers and to the livery stables nearby.
Jewel remembers her father telling the story of watching the 1910 Halley’s Comet, as a 20-year-old, from the warehouse, an ideal place with its flat roof. The tangle of pipes up there is probably a distribution system, says Eric Sporleder, of Sporleder Feeds. Grain could be directed via the pipes to the separate bins below. Inside, today, no bins are visible. One end is walled off with cooling pipes overhead, probably ice cream storage when Don Haney had a Main Street ice cream shop.
In later years, J&L electric found the building handy for storage, says Joe Feiccabrino. In 1911, boys found the wooden rungs of a ladder a marvelous place to leave their names for all time. Found there: Eddie Krier, 6/20/11 (Ken Krier’s father), Ernest Lidle and Earl Sowers.
A photo used at the county assessor’s office from, perhaps, 1980 shows a thick pipe with wooden planks on top, crossing the alley from the top of the building. Speculation says this was connected to the electrical system. Today, the alley cats don’t know San Isabel Electric is the owner and the felines take possession.
The Huerfano County Historical Society and the writer of this article welcome more stories about this holdover from the early Walsenburg days.