A Brief History of Lake City:
The Mining Era, 1874-1904
Commercial Development: Entrepreneurs
Henry Finley was instrumental in the development of the upper Lake Fork valley through his varied ownerships of sawmills, brick yards and toll roads, as well as serving as President of the Lake City Town Company.
Finley was also a building contractor, his apparent specialty being that of stone mason. He was among the Hotchkiss road building party that passed through the future site of Lake City in August, 1874, while constructing the Saguache & San Juan Toll Road. As a member of that group, Finley assisted in burying victims at the Alferd Packer massacre site and -- with Enos Hotchkiss, Monette Hotchkiss, Byron Bartholf and W.C. Lewman -- was an early owner of the celebrated Hotchkiss Mine at Lake San Cristobal.
Escalating value of Finley's part ownership in the mine may have provided the financial backing for his later Lake City business ventures. He was part owner of the Antelope Park & Lake City Toll Road in 1875. That year Finley also formed a partnership with Enos Hotchkiss and D.P. Church to operate the region's first sawmill using water power at Granite Falls above Lake City.
Finley constructed Finley Hall and other early frame commercial structures in 1875 and 1876, although none of these are extant. In 1877, Finley hired stone masons Bauer & Schultz to erect a fine emporium at 130 Silver Street.
Henry Finley's civic contributions included election as Hinsdale County's second sheriff in 1876.
In 1880, Finley in partnership with Dr. J.P. Richardson, founded the Finley & Richardson brick company, which employed 25 men manufacturing 15,000 to 20,000 bricks per day.