by Carolyn Newman
WALSENBURG — Fifty years without a vacation, but Edward W. Krier did not seem to mind, according to a 1955 newspaper article when he prepared to close his jewelry store. His Walsenburg business began in 1905 and in 1910 he erected his own building at 518 Main, now owned by Ken Martinez for his Darkwood Gallery. Diamonds were Krier’s specialty. His skills, however, extended to fitting glasses after his optometry studies at Bradley Institute in Peoria, IL. The jeweler’s art he studied in Philadelphia. E. W.’s granddaughter, Laura Bell Ridings Kirscht, recalls an attempted robbery at the store. Krier grabbed a gun as he turned from the safe to face the robber, who fled. Today the bars and metal-covered back door may date to those days. Certainly the claw-footed bathtub in the small back apartment exists from the early days. After Krier thought about retirement he had one worry. “The summer days will be all right. I can do a lot of work around the house, painting and things.” He sighed, according to the newspaper article, “But those long winter days – I just don’t know. It’s going to be a quite a wrench after 50 years.” The jeweler died three years later. E.W. Krier was a first cousin of two other Walsenburg businessmen, Paul and E. J. Krier. (Confusingly, in one newspaper article E.W. (Edward) was called Ernest.) Occasionally a customer offered to trade a possession for a bit of jewelry for a girlfriend. The 38/40 pearl-handled Colt revolver in the photo was a trade-in. The Colt Company keeps good records and the company historian informed this writer that it was shipped from the Colt factory to Simmons Hardware Co., St. Louis, MO, the city which supplied much of the Walsenburg hardware. In 1954 Krier put the revolver on display and the mailman spotted it. Every day the postal worker brought in the mail and eyed the gun; finally one day he parted with $70 and bought it. Today it is located in the office of the sheriff, son of that mailman. Information is from the Colt Manufacturing Co. Inc., the Aug. 17, 1955 and April 11, 1958, issues of the World-Independent, from Laura Bell Kirscht, Ken Martinez, and the mailman, Alfred K. Newman Jr. The History Detective is a service of the Huerfano County Historical Society huerfanohistory.org firstname.lastname@example.org 719-738-2840.