Montrose, CO — City Councilors have voted unanimously to place the historic S.H. Nye building, located at 428 East Main Street, on the City of Montrose’s Register of Historic Places.
City Planner William Reis said the city's Historic Preservation Commission had voted unanimously to recommend that the City Council approve the building as a local historic property.
Reis told City Councilors Tuesday that the building is significant for its role in the development of downtown Montrose in the early twentieth century. He added that the building housed stores and offices and is significant for its association with Samuel Huntington Nye, a prominent Montrose rancher, businessman, and civic leader.
Reis said the structure also meets the integrity criteria per Montrose Municipal Code Section 4-15-3 as follows:
1. Properties or districts shall be at least 50 years old and meet one or more of the following criteria in order to be considered for designation:
a. Association with events that have made a significant contribution to history;
b. Connection with persons significant in history;
c. Distinctive characteristics of a type, period, method of construction, or artisan;
d. Geographic importance;
f. Possibility to yield important information related to prehistory or history.
2. A property or district may be exempted from the aged standard if the City Council finds it to be exceptionally important in other criteria.
The building, although altered, is representative of the twentieth-century commercial style in its brick construction, restrained ornamentation, double-hung sash windows with transoms on the upper story, and large storefronts on the lower story.
"It's very exciting that we've recently had more interest from property owners regarding the city's Historic Preservation program," Reis said. “The S.H. Nye building is an incredible example of the early twentieth-century commercial style that characterizes our historic downtown."
Nye was born in Pittsford, New York, in 1848 and moved to Colorado when he was an adult, becoming one of the first settlers of the Uncompahgre Valley. Nye homesteaded a 160-acre farm two miles south from what is now the Town of Olathe.
In 1883, when Montrose County was first created, Colorado Governor James Grant appointed Nye as one of the first three Montrose County Commissioners.
Nye is also known as being one of the first to grow fruit trees in the Uncompahgre Valley. He married Isabelle Hannah Redman in 1893 and sold their farm in 1906 to move to a home in the City of Montrose at 701 South First Street, a home that no longer exists today, according to Reis.
In January 1909 Nye purchased two lots on Main Street from the Odd Fellows for $6,560. The building constructed on the property was designed to be 50 feet wide by 100 feet in length with two stories and was finished in early 1910.
According to Reis, the building first housed the Central Business School and a U.S. Land Office in the second story, while the first floor housed the Denver Music Company.
Use of the first-story space has changed many times since the building first opened, including Studebaker, Chevrolet and Oldsmobile dealerships, clothing and grocery stores, art exhibits, Red Cross, and WWI relief drive locations, meeting rooms for the Montrose Republican Party, and various church events. Today the first floor houses Ed’s Fly Shop and the Reign Beauty Collective.
The upstairs spaces have been used for temporary high school classrooms, a bowling alley, and various doctors' offices.
Samuel Nye passed away on April 13, 1922.
The Nye building is now the ninth historic structure added to the city’s local registry since it was created in 2019.
City of Montrose Register of Historic Places:
• City Hall: 433 South First Street, added on September 17, 2019
• Potato Growers Association Building: 39 West Main Street, added on October 1, 2019
• The Missouri Building: 347 East Main Street, added on March 17, 2020
• The Block Building: 345 East Main Street, added on March 17, 2020
• The former BPOE Lodge Building: 107 South Cascade Avenue, added on November 17, 2020
• Montrose Fire Department No. 1 Station: 24 South Uncompahgre Avenue, added on June 1, 2021
• Historic Montrose County Jail: 271 South First Street, added on July 6, 2021
• Denver and Rio Grande Depot: 21 North Rio Grande Avenue, added July 20, 2021
• S.H. Nye Building: 428 East Main Street, added March 1, 2022
For more information about the city's Historic Preservation.