Chamber of Commerce building readies for new life

Tales of the Little Thompson
By Mark French

The Chamber of Commerce Building (far left) was constructed in 1907. Berthoud's new-formed Chamber of Commerce was one of the building's first occupants, taking up quarters in one of the upstairs offices. The Shyrock Hardware store and C.P. Thompson's harness shop occupied the east and west ground floor rooms respectively. Photo courtesy Berthoud Historical Society

The Chamber of Commerce Building (far left) was constructed in 1907. Berthoud’s new-formed Chamber of Commerce was one of the building’s first occupants, taking up quarters in one of the upstairs offices. The Shyrock Hardware store and C.P. Thompson’s harness shop occupied the east and west ground floor rooms respectively.
Photo courtesy Berthoud Historical Society

The Chamber of Commerce Building at the corner of Third Street and Mountain Avenue is currently undergoing renovation. The building’s east ground floor room is occupied by the Subway sandwich shop. Improvements are being made to the west ground floor room where EnergyLogic intends to expand its operation from offices on the building’s second floor. EnergyLogic is a locally-owned company that specializes in residential energy efficiency.

The corner where the Chamber of Commerce Building now stands was not part of Peter Turner’s original town plat. In November 1883 Berthoud’s town founder laid out an L-shaped plat map of eight city blocks at the southeast corner of his 160-acre homestead. For that reason, Berthoud’s development during its first years (1883-84) was limited to land located north of present-day Mountain Avenue.

In October 1885 Charles C. Welch, a Colorado Central Railroad executive, made the first addition to the town of Berthoud when he traveled to the Larimer County seat in Fort Collins to file papers for the “Welch Addition.” The Welch Addition adjoined the southern boundary of Turner’s homestead and fronted the south side of present-day Mountain Avenue. The lot where the Chamber of Commerce Building now stands was located in the new Welch Addition. How the lot was used during the first two decades of its existence is unclear.

In June 1907, George Kee, a local real estate developer, cleared trees from the lot to make way for a two-story, red brick, “business block.” Kee awarded the construction contract to Berthoud builder, John A. Bell, who erected a 50’x75’ building with two store rooms on the first floor and offices on the second. Upon completion, the Shyrock Hardware Company moved into the east ground floor room and harness-maker C.P. Thompson took up quarters in the west. When the newly-formed Berthoud Chamber of Commerce moved into one of the upstairs offices, the structure became known as the Chamber of Commerce Building.

Like many commercial properties in Berthoud, the Chamber of Commerce Building was home to many businesses. In 1911 a Fort Collins tailor by the name of George Moskaloff opened a shop in the building to do “cleaning, pressing and repairing for men and women.” In 1917, when Moskaloff moved his business next door to the little frame building that recently housed the Simply Shabulous antique shop, the Lincoln Highway Café opened for business in the Chamber of Commerce Building room that he vacated.

In the 1930s, Andy Fairbairn operated the Berthoud Hardware Company in the east ground floor room while the Public Service Company of Colorado occupied one of the upstairs offices. At various times a lawyer’s office and beauty shop was located on the second floor.

For many years Berthoud’s post office was located in the building’s east ground floor room. In the 1960s, when the post office moved to a new facility at 307 Welch Ave., Gerald Straight operated a furniture store in the building.

The Chamber of Commerce Building at the southwest corner of Third Street and Mountain Avenue has been part of Berthoud’s business life since 1907. Recently it has been attentively remodeled for EnergyLogic’s use in the modern era. Mike Henning has completed the work.