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Our Blog

Wright Opera House

May 30, 2014

Wright Opera House was the subject of conversation at breakfast this morning.  As proud sponsors of the performance season, we were happy to talk about  the upcoming concert series beginning with a sold out Hayes Carll on May 31; the theater series beginning June 8 with The Odd Couple and the annual summer Melodrama which this year is Agatha Christie’s  Mousetrap.

We also were able to answer questions about the renovations currently underway. When the building reopens this weekend, it will have a totally renovated lobby with a new lounge and backbar, new carpeting, restored tin ceiling, and beautifully restored grand stairway to the second floor theater that takes you back to the origins of the building.  Of course this is just the first stage of what will be a full restoration. Much more to come. 

But that it seems was the limits to our knowledge. We came up short when someone asked us about the significance of the Mesker Storefront designation or more specifically what is a Mesker Storefront? 

That sent us reaching for the Ipad. We have seen the designation on many buildings on Main Street but never really thought too much about that little sign adorning the front of these historic building. 

What we learned was really interesting.  Members of the Mesker family owned several independent companies, each one manufacturing architectural iron components used to create unique storefronts. These buildings have been found on Main Streets in small towns across the country, primarily in the Midwest. Typically a Mesker building has a street level storefront and upper facades of sheet-metal panels stamped with decorative motifs which varied according to which company made the pieces.  Opera houses, banks and hotels frequently used Mesker facades to create their unique presence. 

According to Wikipedia a 1915 catalog indicated that there were Mesker storefronts in every state and even 17 in the territory of Alaska. Today 3,490 facades have been identified in 1,486 towns across the country, according to the Mesker Brothers blog 

Of these, 112 facades in 40 towns are found in Colorado.  Ouray itself has about 14 on Main Street, which means the over 12% of all of Colorado’s structures can be found right here.  Take a walk and see for yourself.  The buildings are pretty neat.

So come over, catch a show at the Wright, and check out these buildings for yourself.  Or just come visit.  Give us a call at 970 325 7222 and let us help you plan your visit or book your stay on line at www.victorianinnouray.com

See you soon

Jan and Brian