Longmont builds Chamber of Commerce in two-day blitz – Longmont Times-Call
In honor of Longmont’s 150th birthday, the Times-Call looks back at historical events reported on its pages. Once a month a newspaper article from the past is published.
In a two-day blitz, under extraordinary weather conditions, Longmont constructed the original Chamber of Commerce building on September 15 and 16, 1958, at 455 Kimbark St. in the 1980s. The building is now home to Latino outreach nonprofit El Comité de Longmont, which the city donated to its founders in 1989 as part of a grant from Colorado Endowment for the Humanities to explore the history of Hispanics in the St. Vrain Valley. and continue its activities. grassroots activism, services and outreach to the greater Latino community.
What follows are front-page stories of The Longmont Daily Times-Call about the blitz building of the original Longmont Chamber of Commerce, written by former Longmont Times-Call publisher Ed Lehman.
Hundreds watch how room building grows fast
(Reported in The Longmont Daily Times-Call on Monday, September 15, 1958)
Under a gray, cloudy sky at 7:07 a.m. Monday, more than three dozen workers jumped into the historic project to construct the Longmont Chamber of Commerce building in 48 hours.
By midday, the exterior masonry was shoulder-high and the volunteer craftsmen gave every indication that all previous building records would be broken. The building is located next to the US Post Office on Fifth Avenue and Kimbark Street.
As the marathon construction project neared completion, hundreds of local residents drove by in their cars or joined the crowd of sidewalk guards having the time of their lives.
Mingus starts job
Following a prayer from Rev. Robert J. Miller, head of the Longmont Ministerial Alliance, the go-ahead was given by Ralph Mingus, president of the Associated Contractors of Longmont.
Mingus and Dale Martfield, general president of the project, were two of the busiest men at the site. They coordinated the efforts of various crews of craftsmen.
Tony McWilliams, who oversees the stone contractor, led his troops into battle. Contractor Harold Landers was ready to begin installing all built-in items as soon as the structure could hold them. Electric contractor Lew Branch and his team were ready with pipes ready and power supplies in place. Gilbert Hutchins will oversee the installation of ceilings and acoustic tiles.
Hamann on top
Contractor George Hamann knows he will get through it because he oversees the roof installation. He had previously insisted that the roof be erected first and then the construction below. Jack Baker of the Harsh Lumber Co. is responsible for roofing materials.
Amos Jackson has already roughened the plumbing and will finish the interior at the earliest opportunity.
Elmer Foley will place the glass and complete the glazing. Richard Sterkel and Ivan Forbes are going to lay carpet. The overall coordination of materials was led by Tom Brit.
Photo caption on the front page
An army of masons
(Longmont Daily Times-Call, Monday September 15, 1958)
Just before the go-ahead, this group of workers gathered before installing the estimated 10,500 bricks that will face the new Chamber of Commerce building. Contact A. Tony McWilliams was the man selected by the Associated Contractors to oversee the masonry work. Although the bricks had been piled up by the construction site days in advance, preliminary marking and planning were kept to a minimum to increase the challenge. McWilliams was on the track early Monday to snap the chalk lines and sort out the work schedule.
Bad weather does not stop construction of room building
(Reported in The Longmont Daily Times-Call on Tuesday, September 16, 1958)
Despite nearly an inch of cold rain and a four-hour break, construction of the new Chamber of Commerce building plunged into high gear on Monday evening and Tuesday morning.
The extraordinary efforts of the various teams of the Associated Contractors of Longmont were credited in getting the 48-hour marathon construction project back on track.
“We had finished 95 percent of the masonry when the rain forced us to stop,” stone contractor A. Tony McWilliams said Monday night. “Tuesday morning there are still eight masons at work. You’ll see it’s done pretty quickly.”
McWilliams said he had never seen a project grow so quickly.
Raph Mingus, president of the sponsorship Associated Contractors of Longmont, said they were not at all discouraged by the delay caused by the rain.
The activity on the site was fantastic all through Monday evening and early Tuesday morning. At 9 p.m. all crews were back in action. An example was the installation of mahogany V-joint panels in the offices. While carpenters AR DePriest and Dean Windell hammered sections into place, electrical contractor Lew Branch was busy attaching faceplates to electrical wall boxes.
Chamber of Commerce president, al Will, spent much of Monday evening at the site. He expressed his deep appreciation to the contractors and their crews for the spirit of the work.
“One of the most amazing things is that all these different professions and crafts work in this building at the same time and yet stay out of the way,” Will added. “In fact, the cooperation between the individual workers is enormous. It is awesome.”
One of the most important phases of the building construction was centered around the roof. During the night, Fred Harsch made frequent trips to the top of the building to oversee the roofing installation.
“If the roof is on and the interior is protected, the weather doesn’t matter too much,” Harsch added.
An example of the roof battle was Harsch and two of his company’s roofers, Rex Mahoney and OB (Doc) Curry. Harsch moved over rolls of tar paper, and Mahoney and Curry hammered roofing nails into them like machine gun bullets as they put the finishing touches to the weatherproofing.
Several hundred spectators visited the construction site at night. Many gathered around a large bonfire that continued to burn on the adjacent property. The ring of more than 100 electric lights and the bonfire lit up the cloudy sky. At the back of the building, the giant cooking tar in front of the roof spewed smoke and roared with deep breaths.
Photo caption on the front page
The new welcome mat
(Longmont Daily Times-Call on Tuesday September 16, 1958)
Reed Walker, manager of the Longmont Chamber of Commerce, is shown here in the midst of activities as workmen rush to put the finishing touches on the marathon building. Walker plans to officially move into the new 24-48-foot-tall building near Fifth Avenue and Kimbark Street at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday. As Monday’s rain left the interior damp, laying the floor tile and some of the paintwork will be postponed until later in the week, when the surfaces have had a chance to dry out. Ralph Mingus, president of the Associated Contractors of Longmont, said he believed the project would be nearly complete early Wednesday morning. He pointed out that if the rain hadn’t interrupted operations, it would have ended well ahead of the early-predicted schedule.