Hayden resident Donna Hellyer talks about one of the informational plaques that will be placed on a building in historic downtown Hayden. This plaque is for the building that once housed the bowling alley and Ferry Carpenter's office, which today is part of the Elkhead Quilting building.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Hayden resident Donna Hellyer talks about one of the informational plaques that will be placed on a building in historic downtown Hayden. This plaque is for the building that once housed the bowling alley and Ferry Carpenter's office, which today is part of the Elkhead Quilting building.

Hayden jazzes up its history

Town to post plaques on 11 buildings dating to the early 1900s

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Historic buildings receiving plaques

- Norvell's Mercantile, now HiWay Bar

- Parks Hall, now a private residence

- Friederich's Jewelry Store, collapsed and demolished

- Bowling alley and Ferry Carpenter's office, part of Elkhead Quilting building

- Church and pool hall, now Hayden Marketplace

- Bank and Hugus Mercantile, now Curbside Commercial Laundry

- Hayden Meat Market, now Pediatrics of Steamboat Springs' Hayden office

- Kleckner's Grocery Store, was Mount Harris Liquors

- Dr. John Solandt's office, now Mount Harris Laundry

- Telephone company, now Thistle Dew Salon

- Wagner Saddle Shop, now Porcupine Designs

In Hayden's downtown, a building isn't just a building. What's now a shop once might have been a church, a pool hall or a bowling alley. If it's been around awhile, a building probably has been reincarnated once, twice or three times over.

A group of Hayden residents has worked for years to put those histories on display, and plaques arrived Thursday for 11 downtown locations, most on Walnut Street. The metal signs include a photo of the building's original interior or exterior and a blurb about its history.

"Our generations that are coming up will never know unless our generation does something to let them know what our past is about," said Lorraine Johnson, who helped with the project.

The building that was her family's liquor store, Mount Harris Liquors, will have a plaque. George Kleckner built it in 1907 to house Kleckner's Grocery Store. Johnson's father, Don Johnson, bought it as a liquor store from Bill Lee in 1984.

Donna Hellyer led efforts to raise money for the plaque project during Hayden's 2006 centennial celebration. The funding for the plaques came from a golf tournament, and Identity Graphics in Craig made them.

Hellyer said she was pleased to finally have the placards, which the group wants to put on the outside walls of buildings.

"People did donate at that time, and we've been all this time trying to get it together," Hellyer said.

The centennial prompted Hayden residents to take a closer look at their history, Johnson said.

"Here we are 100 years old, and we had to preserve what we have," she said.

The plaques arrived at an opportune time, Hellyer said. Hayden received a report this spring through the Community Revitalization Partnership, a joint effort of the town, the Hayden Economic Development Commission, the Hayden Chamber of Commerce and the state Department of Local Affairs.

The group encouraged Hayden to promote its past by creating a historical district. That area includes Walnut Street, part of Jefferson Avenue and buildings such as the Hayden granary, now Yampa Valley Feeds. Signs for other historical buildings are on the way, Hellyer said.

Hayden historian Jan Leslie provided much of the information for the plaques. Few people realize how developed the town was, she said.

"We had two banks, two theaters, two bowling alleys," Leslie said. "We just used to have so much more."

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