History of the Pullman House


Pullman House

The Pullman House as a Service Station in the early 20th Century
Courtesy Golden History Museum, City of Golden Collection

In 1932 Ralph and Mary Cotton, along with Lura Fitzgerald, rented the old Pullman House and operated the Cold Spring Service Station there, offering gas and a store for stoppers by, a modern translation of the building's original use.  Nearby to the west stood Rock Rest, a popular stone dance hall, and to the west of that stood the Old Homestead Grocery, the reconstructed Boston Company building after it was dismantled in Golden for urban renewal in 1925.  A contemporary of the Pullman House, having been built as Golden's first building in 1859, it now served as a business of the growing Pleasant View community until its fiery demise in 1942.

Pullman House 1946

LaVerne Christensen and "Brownie" Charlie Brown at the Pullman House,
known as Brownie's Corner, selling Texaco gas, groceries and had a coffee shop in 1946
Courtesy Brown Family Collection, Gardner Family Collection

The Cold Spring Service Station was purchased by Charles and Olive Brown in 1946.  By this time the old building had a front porch and rear addition making it over five times its original size. It was a well-known landmark, a little thanks to its bright orange coat of paint which they toned down.  The Browns continued operating it as Brownie's Corner, and after converting to Phillips 66 gas it was Brownie's Homestead service station. They lived in the old house until they built their own living quarters.

Pullman House 1959

Pullman House as Clover Hardware in 1959
Courtesy Brown Family Collection, Gardner Family Collection

Around that time the old way station became the home of Clover Hardware, its third and final commercial use, owned and ran by John Hunter Cooley.  The Pullman House had come full circle, with hammer handles for sale once again, and where people once bought grub with gold dust they now purchased television sets.


Rocky Mountain News Article    Denver Post Article

Rocky Mountain News - 4/25/1965 (left); Denver Post - September 15, 1965 (right)

Clover Hardware moved to the east of the historic building in 1955.  The Pullman building was all that remained of the Cold Spring Ranch (the rest had long since been subdivided), and it decayed.  In 1965 the Browns decided to demolish the famous structure, stating it was a fire trap and they wished to expand their garage.  Making a deal with an Idaho Springs man to salvage what they believed was a frame structure to dismantle and rebuild, they took down the outer clapboarding to discover the historic logs underneath.

Pullman House Log Walls

The historic logs revealed as the Pullman House is dismantled in 1965
Original 1860 log structure is the first floor at lower left
Courtesy Brown Family Collection, Gardner Family Collection

Sid Squibb, onetime head of the Gilpin County Historical Society, happened by and offered to take the logs himself. He spirited them up to Central City, ironically the same town Pullman once operated his store in.  Meanwhile the outer shell was rebuilt, in mirror image, just east of the Stanley Mines Mill at Idaho Springs, while the bannister staircase went to the Browns' homestead cabin at Evergreen. The logs lay in state for 32 years, while the service station eventually closed and was replaced by other businesses.  In 1997 the logs were relocated to Golden by volunteers of the Golden Landmarks Association, and the building transferred to the preservation entity's hands.

Soon the logs of the Pullman House were stored at Camp George West in Pleasant View, returning them to part of the historic spread the ranch house once presided over. There they awaited reconstruction. However, on July 25, 2009 catastrophe struck when the building they were stored in was firebombed and destroyed, inflicting great damage upon the Pullman logs. However, some logs came out of the wreckage virtually intact, with others partially intact as well. With these and replicas it is yet possible to resurrect the Pullman House at a home to be determined in the future.