Lake City, Colorado Historic District
Lake City's Architectural Heritage:
Early Building Materials
Lake City's isolated location meant that construction relied upon local materials.
Wood was most commonly used. The earliest residents first constructed log cabins from trees hand cut from the surrounding mountains. Soon several mills produced dimensional lumber, wood siding, and other building products.
By 1876, Lake City had two brickyards, four sawmills, a planing mill, and a shingle mill. Before the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad reached the town in 1889, local carpenters hand made architectural elements, such as cornices, brackets, porch balusters, gable-end decorations, and window trim.
Local builders employed masonry materials as well. Local brickyards produced bricks for commercial structures and few dwellings, such as the Kohler and Hilgenhaus residences. The quarry on the bluff northwest of town provided stone for the commercial "blocks" at Silver and Third streets. Adobe bricks made from the clay of the Slumgullion Earth Flow went into several structures.
Some building materials and decorative features were brought into Lake City by freight wagon. For example, decorative elements on the Hough Building were shipped by rail from St. Louis, Missouri, then hauled 36 miles south by wagon from the Denver & Rio Grande railhead.
The 1889 completion of a Denver & Rio Grande branch into Lake City broadened the selection of building materials available locally. Residents could order decorative items through mail order catalogs, and the local lumberyard stocked items shipped into town by rail.