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Cortez University of Colorado Center, Museum, and Cultural Park

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c. 1900. 25 N. Market St.
  • (Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)
  • Mural (Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)

Built as the steel-frame, brick, and stucco E. R. Lamb Mercantile, this building is distinguished by a second-story cast iron front from Mesker Brothers of St. Louis. This metal false front exults in florid metal pilasters, corbeling, garlanded friezes, bas-relief panels, and an exuberant cornice. A trompe-l'oeil mural of modern-day Pueblo Indian life covering the entire north wall helps to integrate a Victorian business block with its newer storefront additions—fake vigas, log-columned porch, and balcony. The adjacent cultural park contains a reconstructed hogan, tipi, and dance arena. The University of Colorado has long been the major sponsor of local archaeological research and in 1987 opened this educational outreach center and museum in cooperation with the city of Cortez. Despite additions, this building maintains more of its integrity than its neighbor at 10 West Main Street, the Wilson Drug Building, formerly the Stone-block Building (1889), a once impressive two-story stone business block now diminished by a stuccoed pediment, glass block storefront, and aluminum awnings.

Writing Credits

Thomas J. Noel

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