EDITOR’S NOTES: Eric Kean and Sam Scruby of Main Street Brewery are celebrating the 140th anniversary of the sandstone building at the corner of Main Street and CO Highways 36/7, which has been occupied by multiple businesses, and in more recent decades, as restaurants. LaVern Johnson, director of the Lyons Redstone Museum, spoke to gathered patrons of the new restaurant about the history of the businesses on that corner, on July 21. — The Lyons Recorder previously had an article about the history of the building and its owners in January 2020, which is LINKED here. The material below was gathered by LaVern and is more broad in its content. ~~~ The Lyons Redstone Museum is open daily this summer. See more samples of Newt Thomas’ landscape paintings and pick up a copy of the Historic District map at the museum. ~~ Enjoy!
THE McALLISTER\FRANK BUILDING 450 Main, Lyons, Colorado (140 years – 1881-2021)
Congratulations on celebrating the 140 years of this building–McAllister\Frank Building, 450 Main, built in 1881. I especially commend Eric Kean and Sam Scruby for thinking of the town and building’s history, and celebrating, as we are a historic town, known and supported by the reddish sandstone.
When Edward S. Lyon came from Putnam, Connection, to Black Hawk and Central City, and then rode over Red Hill in 1880, he saw that this land, owned by Hiram Sawyer. It was for sale, and he said, “That looks good to Me.” He then noticed the sandstone mountains all around, and bought land, and soon started the town of Lyons, Colorado… which was incorporated as a town in 1891.
This building was one of the first built in town, out of sandstone, as McAllister’s Saloon, in 1881, by Hiram Sawyer, who ran it for five years. Over later years it has been mostly a restaurant and bar. Once owned for payment on quarry land. For many years it was a meat market and butcher shop by the Frank Brothers, who farmed southwest of Lyons. Other owners were: Hiram Sawyer, who owned the farm the town is on; T. G. Putnam, (a developer who added the northwest part of Lyons, called the Putnam Plat, with lots 75 feet wide, instead of the usual 50 feet); Young Brewing Co, who bought it for $500.00 in 1902. In 1949, Robert E. House and Nettie (Engert) House rented it from James Chisholm as Bob’s Pool Hall. Chris Angelos operated it as The Caravan from 1961-1978. He sold it to David Cisneros family who specialized in Mexican food, as Don David’s. Then Cilento Mary’s was popular. Then The Fork with Wayne and Debbie Anderson. And, now Main Street Brewery.
Inside are two oval pictures by Newt Thomas, Lyons artist in the 1890s and early 1900s, which became well known in his own right. The pictures are said to show two bullet holes shot in the wall from a gunfight. We also remember cue ball fights, where the police were called.
In 1975, the building was revamped, sandblasting the yellow paint off the front sandstone, to show its historical value. It was designated as a Historic site in the Lyons Historic District in 1980, honoring 15 sandstone buildings built in the 1880s; We have brochures where people can drive around town to see them; as well as on the web.
Right east of the restaurant is a lot which has stood vacant since 1920, owned by Bertha Ramey at the time. The Lyons Golden Rule Store built there in 1869 by M. J. and Lea Scanlon. It burned in 1905, due to an acetylene explosion which killed Leonard Lyon, son of E.S. Lyons. The store was rebuilt and burned again in 1920, after which the Scanlon family built the store on the southwest corner west of the St. Vrain Market, which they operated until 1942. That old building was torn down at the construction of the new highway in the early 1970’s.
In the late ’60s and ’70s the lot was used for a basketball court where all the kids in town played basketball, until people got “sue crazy” and Mr. Ramey got skittish of a lawsuit and closed it down in 1972. We always knew that our kids were at the basketball court. I believe kids might still be using it.
We are glad this empty lot is being used, and that they are NOT trying to tear the Dynamite Building in back down. Which was used to store dynamite in the 1890’s for the quarry workers by M. J. Scanlon, owner of the Golden Rule Store. The Town Council finally insisted the dynamite be stored in the quarries– a much safer location. Some times thru its years, people have used it, such as a vendor, etc. It, too, is in the Lyons Historic District.
We honor this old building, which has served the Town of Lyons and its people for 140 years, mostly for adults, some pool playing for kids. When I was a kid they built the building to the west which was used for kid games and dancing. It then became: an office, athletic store, grocery store, a music store, a pharmacy, and an art studio. It is currently empty.
Congratulations to Eric and Sam. We wish them the best in his new business… the Main Street Brewery.
LaVern M. Johnson, President
Lyons Historical Society, dba Lyons Redstone Museum
Box 9, Lyons, Co.80540 Jul 20, 2021
firstname.lastname@example.org; 303 823 5925