Steamboat Springs A landmark building in downtown Steamboat Springs is undergoing a historical preservation project that should assure its second 100 years at the corner of Ninth Street and Lincoln Avenue.
The Maxwell/Squire Build--ing was covered in scaffolding this week in preparation for the rehabilitation of the mortar between its vintage red bricks. It was built in 1908 by J.D. Maxwell with native sandstone and brocks from the Trogler kiln near Fish Creek.
The building is best known for housing the pharmacy counter and soda fountain at Lyon's Corner Drug.
"We will take all of the stucco off and take it back to its original historical status," Frank Hogue said.
He manages the building for his mother, Margaret Squire Hogue, 87. The restoration will cost nearly $500,000, but the financial blow will be softened by income tax credits up to 20 percent of the construction cost.
"It was time to do it," Hogue said. "Some of those bricks are getting loose. This should help it last another hundred years."
Arianthe Stettner of Historic Routt County said Maxwell spent between $15,000 and $20,000 on the original construction.
The bulk of the renovation work will be done by specialized masons who will "re-point" the mortar in the brick. That involves removing about a half-inch of the material and replacing it, said architect Jan Kaminski of Mount Architecture Design Group. The materials used in the new mortar are carefully matched to the original mix, Kaminski said. Using the wrong mortar could damage the bricks through cycles of expansion and contraction, he said.
"If you use the wrong cementitious mortar on kiln-dried rather than fire-faced bricks, it could pop the face off the brick," Kaminski said.
In addition to the painstaking work of repairing the mortar, the old building will get a new roof, and the stone parapet that defines its architecture will be stabilized.
The general contractor is Tyke Pierce Construction.
Perhaps most apparent to passersby will be the restoration of some original windows on Ninth Street near the entrance to Azteca Taqueria. Windows on that faÃ§ade were replaced with wood panels years ago.
Among the original tenants of the building was the U.S. Post Office, which remained there until 1962. D.S. Chamberlain acquired the building in 1920 and opened the first drug store in the location.
Frank Squire purchased the building in 1947.
Current second-story tenants in the building include a hair salon, seamstress, jeweler and the offices of a nonprofit.
Stettner praised the vision Margaret Hogue showed in 1995 when she applied for and obtained National Register of Historic Places status for the building.
A grant allowed Historic Routt County to conduct a historical assessment of the building, Stettner said, and give the Hogues guidance about how to prioritize the building's needs.
"This is a model preservation project involving a partnership among the owners, a nonprofit and supportive local government (the city of Steamboat Springs)," she said.