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The Estes Park Hardware Store 
It seems to me that every time we make a little progress something really nice disappears. For every elevator built in the shadow of Mt. Meeker, there's an institution that goes under.
This time, it's the Estes Park Hardware, which closed its doors about the turn of the year.
Some of my earliest memories of Estes Park are associ¬ated with the Estes Park Hardware Store. Its floor, for instance, intrigued me. It looked as though lots of things had dropped on it and been spilled on it. And the store smelled like paint and turpentine and you had to slide sideways down its jammed aisles.
We almost never went in the front door. The front door was for tourists. We parked in back, and so, apparently, did everyone else. When they put in the new Confluence Park they took out the EPH parking lot, and when people couldn't find a place to park, they went to the Ben Franklin up in Stanley Village or Ace Hardware, which is where the old Morehead's summer grocery store used to be, behind the American Legion.
So, at the end of December, it was sad to see the old place, which had survived the Lawn Lake flood, when one of the few basements in town was filled with mud. That basement was the storage place for screens, which we always needed every summer, and kerosene, which used to cost 17¢ a gallon and we put it into a can with a potato jammed on the spout after we lost the cap. I bought my first .22 ammunition here, accompanied by my father, and innumerable fishing licenses. Now it looked like the tag end of a school rummage sale, with everything marked "50% OFF," but I couldn't bear to buy anything and thereby contribute to the end of an era.
Gone, too, is the Estes Park Appliance store, which was in back of the Hardware store. We had a number of appliances repaired there and they installed our TV antenna. That building was the original Park Headquarters build¬ing, and it's now been moved to the Estes Park Histori¬cal Museum site and it's being restored. The other lit¬tle building, which was the Radio Shack store for the past several years, was torn down.
I suppose we'll all enjoy Confluence Park but it certainly won't help the parking problem. I can go to any one of the hardware stores in town and probably pay a little less than I did at the Estes Park Hardware but I'm going to miss that floor and those smells and those familiar, helpful people.
© 1985 – 2003, David E. Steiner
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