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Exerpts from the Buena Vista walking tour–

Downtown Buena Vista

Residents decided to incorporate Buena Vista Oct. 28, 1879. Judge Julius Hughes signed incorporation papers the following day. The push to incorporate Buena Vista came when Major W.M. Kasson and others helped form the Buena Vista Town Company. They petitioned for incorporation to the county seat, then in Granite, after they had 45 qualified voters and 150 residents. With the sale of lots from the company, the center of town was reserved for a park (McPhelemy) and irrigation ditches were run to lots.
The first settlers in this area in 1864 called their town Cottonwood. Later it was changed to Mahonville for the Mahon family.
The naming of Buena Vista is credited to a woman, Alsina Deerheimer. The name is Spanish for good view. Early residents were farmers, ranchers and miners.
The first inhabitants came by covered wagon or horseback. Later, a stage was established. The roads were narrow and very rough. The main road into the area was from South Park, via Chubbs Gulch and later Trout Creek Pass. The other main road came up from Cañon City and went on to Leadville.
By 1880, there were two railroads into town: the Denver South Park and Pacific from Denver via Trout Creek Pass and the Denver and Rio Grande, coming from Cañon City through the Royal Gorge. In 1887 the Colorado Midland, which came out of Colorado Springs, was established.

331 E. Main is a false front building built in 1879.
This building was a saloon at one time, where dancing girls were forcibly evicted by city officials.

The Chet Loback home, 115 S. Colorado Ave., private, is thought to be the first school in Buena Vista.
The two-story portion was the school. The teacher lived upstairs, which he reached by outside stairs. The downstairs was the school.
In an 1881 history of Buena Vista, the school is described as being “graded” and held in rented rooms.

Bongo Billy’s Roasting; Nelson Fleming, CPA; Double Header Beauty Salon; Pacific West Securities; John Cogswell; attorney and other businesses are housed at 411 E. Main.
The largest single structure on Main Street, except for the courthouse, this building once held the Orpheum Theater upstairs and the Lincoln Garage downstairs.
The large auditorium has been used as an opera house, a theater and a basketball gym. The Buena Vista High School basketball team practiced and played here until McGinnis Gym was built in 1935.
Ray Slane owned and operated a garage here in the 1930s and 1940s.
The building, on the state Register of Historic Buildings, is owned by John Cogswell. There are plans to renovate this structure.

Court Street was the main highway into Buena Vista until Highway 24 was built in 1937. This was called the Pikes Peak Ocean to Ocean Highway. “Skinny” Pyle operated a Texaco station at the corner of Court & Main.
The site is now occupied by Grant Heilman’s photography studio. The former Texaco station building is now located west of the “Wedge” building.