- The earliest business was Fort Uncompahgre, dealing in everything trappers of beaver needed to survive and they also bartered with the Ute Indians.
- McGranahans and Butler Emporium, a tent store, (that is one with a canvas roof and wooden walls) was established in early 1881. Vanderventer Vehicle Store was merely a wagon that offered to take merchandise wherever settlers staked claims. Goods could be obtained just by walking out the front cabin door.
- In March of 1883, the Delta Chief was putting out the local paper while cabins and tents still comprised the town. The Chief later became the Delta County Independent.
- One building was seemingly out of place for a Wild West town like Delta. The Servite Order of Chicago built a large brick monastery on Garnet Mesa for the tubercular young men studying for the priesthood although they took in others with the same affliction. Built in 1899, it was at the top of Third Street Hill across from the Elliot House. Later, when it closed as a monastery in 1908, it was bought by the Nutters as a home. In 1950, it was turned into Schwartz Nursing Home, then later became Harold’s Nursing Home and finally was abandoned and torn down in 1982.
- On Main Street, Hank Hammond opened a livery stable then enlarged it to include a saddler while J. J. Barker opened a blacksmith shop. R. M. McMurray began building a drugstore while Harvey Bailey opened the Delta County Bank. M.C. Vanderventer went onto the hotel business opening the Uncompahgre House, bearing the town’s name, which was later to bear the towns’ new name, Delta House.
- Delta even had a version of a health spa at the junction of First Street and Crawford Avenue. It was a roughly –hewn windowed structure that was built over the sulfur spring there and had benches where you could sit and drink the medicinal smelly water.
- The train depot and wide tree-line lane leading to the brick building only exists in photographs. The tracks at the end of town still exist but now houses line the street where before it was the social event of the evening to stroll down and watch the train arrive. Built in in 1917, it was torn down in 1967 to make way for Skyland’s new warehouse.
- Another later victim of Skyland’s expansion was Peterson’s Grocery. The original store was built in 1903. With high ceilings, wooden stairs at the front entrance and wooden floors oiled with paraffin, walking inside was like stepping back in time one hundred years. Wooden cabinets with glass sliding doors held boxes of penny candy. The elder Peterson’s lived upstairs which was once used as hotel rooms to accommodate travelers that arrived at the depot. A wooden balcony, supported by poles below, shielded patrons from the rain and sun.
- One of Delta’s most famous landmarks is conspicuously absent. The Anna Dora Opera House and the original hardware store that it set above. Mather Candy Kitchen became Grays Stationery, established in 1944. Owned by Cortie and Louise Blackburn and it later was converted to Edward D. Jones Offices. Along the same side of Main, the Modern Gift Shop was owned by Raymond Barr.
- The Farmers and Merchants Bank building is now a house on Howard Street, and the courthouse from 1884 was cut into two parts and moved to Dodge Street for houses in 1896. The courthouse originally was built on the northeast corner of Third and Main Street. The very first “original” county courthouse was a bug infested log cabin on the alley at forth and Main Street. The 1910 City Hall Build sat facing Third Street between Main and Meeker Streets and is now the courtyard to the museum.
So in your travels of Delta you may remember where a different building stood in a time past, or if you have a memento of a business long gone, bring g it and your memories to the museum.
Director, Delta County Historical Society and Museum