Early Eckert Post Office
Eckert was named for Elizabeth “Izzy” Eckert States, the wife of Adelbert States. He was the ﬁrst postmaster of the ﬁrst post ofﬁce in Eckert established in 1891. The post ofﬁce was located in the States’ home, then other homes before moving to the store built in 1884 and operated by States.
Store names have changed, ﬁrst A.L. Reynolds General Merchandise, then Eckert Market, and now Big E Market. The store, in continuous operation to the present day, has had numerous owners.
About 1915 a creamery was added on the north side of the store. That addition has later housed an ice house, meat locker plant, beauty shop, and more recently, living quarters.
The building was renovated after it was purchased by Gary Espinosa and his family. Removing layers and layers of paint, red linoleum, and thick tar revealed original 3” wood planks, some 15’ long made from ﬁr trees brought off Grand Mesa. Restored, the ﬂoor has character of its own. During renovation, Espinosa found signs of previous remodeling. The outside of the main structure is original, constructed of brick (probably locally made), painted white it now boasts of a colorful mural.
Concept Auto Body
and Repair Shop
A two-story wooden building (date unknown) stood at the site of the present Concept Auto Body and Repair Shop. A blacksmith shop was located on the ground ﬂoor with a hall on the second ﬂoor used for meetings for IOOF members, Woodsmen of America, and Eckert Masons. Other organizations, religious services and high school classes were held there. The structure burned in 1926.
A corrugated building was constructed at the site. It too, housed a blacksmith shop. Melvin Doughty (later Doughty Steel in Delta) leased, and then bought the building. In the early 1940’s, with help from a local Mexican family, an adobe brick building was constructed using bricks made of local clay mixed with straw.
Others have ‘blacksmithed’ at this site. A cement foundation remained when a cinder block addition was torn down.
Bob Castoe has owned the building for the past 10 years. His recent additions and remodeling incorporated the historical adobe building, capping the handmade bricks, to preserve them from further disintegration. He was also able to utilize the cement foundation on the north side when constructing bays for his repair shop.
Eckert Presbyterian Church
Building a brick church was considered, however when enough moss covered rock was located a decision was made to use the rock. Men, women and children hauled 33 loads of rocks using horses and wagons for construction to begin as funds were available. The completed basement was used for services in 1919. Work slowed because of weather, a ﬂu epidemic, wartime, and lack of money. The church was completed and dedicated (debt free) in 1921.
The manse was built next door in 1949. A new wing, containing classrooms, a nursery, library, ofﬁce and restrooms was completed in 1986.
The church has served its members and the community for 90 years and has become a familiar landmark along Highway 65.
Surface Creek Creamery
“A large brick building was built in Eckert in 1928 to house the Surface Creek Creamery Association, and started serving the public in 1930,” according to an entry in Surface Creek County by Hazel Austin. Another source states, “…a former fruit packing shed built in the 1920’s, the United Packing Co. is remodeled and rebuilt, converting the building to a creamery.’ Regardless of origin and date, butter with the “Challenge” label made at the Surface Creek Creamery was sold in most of the grocery stores on the Western Slope, even ﬁnding some markets on the Front Range.
Other businesses have come and gone since the creamery closed in the 1970s.
Surface Creek Winery and Gallery
The renovated main ﬂoor of the historical stone IOOF building houses Surface Creek Winery and Surface Creek Art Gallery since 2002. Fine old maple ﬂoors were reﬁnished, a beautiful bar and cabinets installed. Double front doors from the former Surface Creek Bank in Cedaredge add a touch of style. Tables and chairs in the back portion of the room serve well for special events including a celebration when Sand Hill cranes return here each spring.
The IOOF Lodge has disbanded though religious services continue to be held on the second ﬂoor.
Wagonloads of rock were brought to Eckert by IOOF members to construct the building with most of the labor contributed by volunteers. A completion date of 1927 is embedded in stonework, high on the front of the two-story building.
IOOF meetings, dances, religious services and many social events took place upstairs. In the ’40s, the ﬁrst ﬂoor provided space for roller skating. Voting and yard sales made use of the accessible location. The kitchen was utilized to provide a hot lunch program for Eckert schools, and manual training classes were held in the basement.
The small yellow brick building behind the hall was built for 4-H chicken roasts, possibly a forerunner for the popular 4-H fund raising dinners held each year.
This “sweet shop” makes a wide variety of chocolate candy and sells it on site along with old fashioned ice cream treats. The setting is unique providing a free exhibit of items from a bygone era for families to visit and enjoy at their leisure.
The building once housed a service station complete with a grease rack and two gas pumps in front when Charlie Holder bought it in the ’30s. When the highway was widened, the pumps had to go along with an angled section of the north east corner of the building, no longer useful as a service station. Other businesses have located there including Quest’s High Country Woodwork Shop.
There are other early buildings along Highway 65 in Eckert. Space is limited. Those historic notes need to wait for a later date.
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