Threshold to History: Part II

By: Lisa McDivitt
By: Lisa McDivitt

I’m continuing to learn about my new city one building at a time, and this time I’m taking a walk down memory lane in shoes from many different eras. Read this entry to get more info, find links to the video, and get a peak behind the scenes of our morning show, NBC 11 News Live Today.

The second installment of my historical series, “Threshold to History” debuted Friday, and this time I’m taking you into one of the oldest family-owned businesses in Colorado.


Benge’s Shoe Store has been in Grand Junction since 1911, and one of the cool parts about the place is that the owners have retained a lot of the original structural elements, as well as shoes and tools that were used “back in the day.”


Some things to look for next time you’re shopping downtown, or just strolling along Main Street:

  1. A carousel horse purchased by Benge’s in the 1950’s from the Grand Junction Lions Club.
  2. The pressed-tin roof that shows intricate design, and is a style you won’t find much today.
  3. Shoe boxes are lined against the side walls, exactly the way they were placed when it originally opened. (Though the shoes themselves have changed).
  4. The Fluoroscope – an X-ray machine that was used in the 1930s and 1940s to help get the right fit. (Stores stopped using the machine in the 1950s due to concerns about overexposure to radiation.)
  5. There are lots of shoes on display that show you what women have been wearing since the early 1900s. You’ll see that progress has been made – your feet will sigh in relief!

When I interviewed the current owner, Bruce Benge, he noted that shoe fashion is somewhat cyclical. Styles that you see now are similar to styles you might have seen 40 years ago. One style that definitely isn’t coming back soon? Button-up boots. You can find examples of these boots (with tiny buttons) in the store – it’s a style that must have slowed down a lady’s morning routine considerably.


To learn even more about the history of Benge’s, check out the entire story by clicking here. And to further your Grand Valley education, click here to see the first installment of “Threshold to History.”


Leave your thoughts about what I should explore next!


Behind the Scenes:

Now, if you caught our morning show live today, let me know what you thought!  It was my first time putting what’s called a “stand-up” in the story, while at the same time being in the studio to introduce the story.


The “stand-up” is where I show up in the middle of the story to give you information in person. But since I also went live on the show to introduce the story, it might have seemed funny to see me twice (wearing two different outfits, and, admittedly, sporting two different hair cuts).


What did you think? Was it helpful or distracting? Do you have any questions about how the show works?


Leave your comments and questions here, and I look forward to the conversation!

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  • by ruth Location: s.e. Co on Jan 31, 2009 at 12:51 PM
    Lisa, We have been watching your blogs and find them very interesting. What a neat idea doing the history of business buildings. I would think the business people would jump at the chance to have their business aired on TV. Having been in business for 3o years I would jump at the chance to have free advertising.
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