New future for Eagles building
November 30, 2006
A local engineer’s efforts are opening the door to a new future for a downtown Glenwood Springs building. Meanwhile, a local historian’s research is providing a window to its past.Bob Oddo, who runs an engineering firm in Glenwood, bought the 4,500-square-foot building on Cooper Avenue from the Fraternal Order of the Eagles in June.His decision to have contractors pull off a brick facade installed decades ago produced a surprise.”We discovered cast-iron, ornate, turn-of-the-century columns,” Oddo said.Oddo said three of the columns were uncovered. He decided to leave them exposed, put a steel truss in for lateral stability, and then have a stone veneer installed.”I’m getting carried away,” he said with a laugh.”It would have been easy enough for me to keep the brick and not expose these columns, but I think these columns have a lot of history behind them.”The whole building does, for that matter.Oddo’s understanding was that old city maps suggested the building was constructed in 1909, replacing tents that had occupied the site. But Willa Soncarty, registrar for the Frontier Historical Museum in Glenwood, has been researching the building and believes it was built a few years earlier. For decades, Sanborn Fire Insurance produced annual maps indicating all the buildings in town, and they show that in 1904 a saloon was planned for the lot, and sometime between then and 1907 it had been built.Soncarty said a man named Ed Hughes probably built the building. His name is well-known to her.”Whenever Ed Hughes gets involved you know that there’s going to be a saloon,” she said.A 1910 directory indicated that people by the name of Mehle and Muhlich apparently ran the saloon. Soncarty doesn’t know more about Mehle but said Paul Muhlich was born in Austria and eventually lived in the upstairs part of the saloon.It’s possible that a drinking establishment could return to the building. Oddo plans to use the second floor for his engineering office, but rent out the ground floor and basement. He said one prospective tenant wants to run a martini or wine bar, and another would use it as a professional office.”All my friends, they want the martini bar,” Oddo said.The Aspen Times, Aspen, Colo.