Threshold of History: From Sampliner’s to the Rockslide Brewery

By: Lisa McDivitt Email
By: Lisa McDivitt Email

On the corner of 4th and Main in downtown Grand Junction is a brick building, whose current owners have ensured that it stands the test of time by preserving parts of its original structure.

The word “Sampliner’s” has been restored in its original blue-and-white tile format, now located in the entryway of the Rockslide Brewery. Sampliner’s was a men’s clothing store that occupied the space more than 100 years ago. It was started by two cousins, Joseph and Albert Sampliner, who arrived in Grand Junction in the late 1800’s. They opened the store in 1895, selling fine men’s clothes they purchased in bulk from Silverton and Cripple Creek. Some of their high-end customers included then publisher of the Sentinel newspaper, Isaac N. Bunting.

Sampliner’s remained in the space until 1913, when it was sold and became another men’s clothing store, Rush Sanford. By 1945 the building changed hands again when it was purchased by the Brownson’s family, who also kept it as a clothing store. Brownson’s catered to only men at first, and later sold women’s clothes as well. Eventually, the Brownson’s store vacated the site and the building became a second-hand store.

By the time the owners of the Rockslide Brewery purchased the building in the mid-1990s, it barely resembled the Sampliner’s shop of the past.

"You can usually see the economic health of the community, just based on what businesses are in there,” said Zebulon Miracle, a curator at the Museum of the West.

In 1995, the downtown had lost some of its high-end appeal. "When we bought it, the walls on the inside and the outside were completely covered up. The outside was aluminum siding,” said Howard, who spent more than a year re-doing the building. "It was a lot bigger job than we thought it was going to be when we started out. But once we got into it, we decided we needed to do it all, and we did."

By refurbishing the building, Howard exposed the original brick and preserved the Sampliner’s logo. While the brick is now part of the Rockslide Brewery image, the work done by Howard has helped to keep a little piece of Grand Junction history alive on Main Street.

“We're very excited to see the work that the Rockslide owners have done with the building,” said Miracle, who also sits on the city’s Historic Preservation Board, and noted the original Sampliner’s logo in the tile. “That’s something that could have easily been destroyed or taken out, but they made a conscious effort of leaving it there."

This is the first in theThreshold of History series, which explores the history of Grand Junction through various buildings around the area. Click here to share your thoughts or suggestions for more buildings to feature.

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