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Uray for Hollywood: 1940

Uray for Hollywood: 1940

September 1940. "Theater in Ouray, Colorado." Now playing: "Primrose Path" with Ginger Rogers and Joel McCrea. Photo by Russell Lee. View full size.


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Murder and Suicide Startles City

News clipping about the Hiebler family in Ouray. Click for the rest of the story.

Through dark of night

It appears that the theatre is gone and in its place, a small post office. If you look at the mountains behind, they fit the configuration of the one in the above picture of the Uray. BTW, it was named after Chief Uray; I don't know when or why they added the "O".

[His name is generally spelled Ouray, although one is just as arbitrary as the other, devised as it was by users of the Roman alphabet. - Dave]

14 out of 15 ain't bad

Except for this building. The article linked by FixIt says that of the 15 Mesker façades installed in Ouray, 14 still remain. The exception: the Hiebler building at 624 Main St.

Moved across the street since 1940?

And partially modified on the ground floor entrance? If so, the "Uray Theatre" is still standing.

"Cinema Treasures" ( incorrectly lists the former Uray Theatre was located at the site of the historic Wright Opera House (southwest corner of Main and 5th), whose dimensions and facade look nothing like the above.

BUT, using Google Earth at street level, going half a click north of the Main & 5th on the east side of the street just after the Beaumont Hotel is an identical building to the Uray Theatre - same facade and ornamentation (sans triangular structure on the cornice up top and "James" in place of "18HEIBLER89"), only the ground entrance modified. Take a look at the street view - looks like the same building, just moved across the street sometime after 1940:

[The Uray Theatre was at 624 Main Street. The building seen below is next to the Beaumont Hotel at 515 Main -- two entirely different structures. As noted in the other comments, there are over a dozen buildings in Ouray with similar facades. - Dave]

What a facade!


For profit-minded businessmen in the late 1800’s the goal was to stand out from the crowd. For those who couldn’t afford fancy masonry or cast iron embellishments, there was an alternative: pick up a catalogue and order a decorative, galvanized sheet metal facade from the Mesker Brothers Iron Works or George L. Mesker & Co. Purchasers could pick and choose from a range of cast iron and pressed metal mass-produced components or spring for a lavish top-to-bottom facade. Their order would come in by train and in just a few days, a plain brick or wood box of a building could be transformed into a beautifully elegant edifice, at roughly one-fifth the cost of a masonry facade.

He/she is baaack!

One of the coming attractions advertised is "Too Many Husbands," a Columbia Pictures comedy staring Jean Arthur as a wife whose first husband is supposedly lost in a shipwreck, only to return after she remarries. A couple of months later, RKO released "My Favorite Wife," a comedy staring Cary Grant as a husband whose first wife is supposedly lost in a shipwreck, only to return after he remarries.

Nearly every one of the silver-rush-era buildings on Main Street in Ouray with cast-iron facades has been preserved. This building, sadly, is the exception.

Gone today

These ornate facades were made by two competing family companies, the Mesker Brothers Iron Works of St. Louis or George L. Mesker & Co. of Evansville, Indiana. Ouray had 15 such buildings. The Hiebler building is the only Mesker non-survivor.

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