Imperial Skin Tattoo - 906 8TH AV

 Print Listing Historical Name - Sanborn & Houston/Greeley Loan Company
Style - Late 19th and Early 20th Century American Movements/Commercial Style
Built Year - 1911-13
State ID - 5WL4112

Description - Two-story rectangular brick commercial building with flat roof with narrow stone coping and decorative corbelled brick cornice and frieze. Wide 1/1-light double-hung sash windows near outside edges of fa├žade on upper story have thin rock-faced stone sills. Walls are painted brick. Off-center entrance with door with newer door with multiple lights; covered up transom and clerestory window. South of entrance are two large plate glass display windows surmounted by band of clerestory windows with multiple small lights. Paneled brick under windows, which have continuous sill. Rear has one-story projection with painted brick wall on east that has an off-center entrance with paneled door and covered transom, a narrow window with security grille adjacent to the entrance, a second entrance with paneled door, and a 6/6-light double-hung sash window.

Historical Background - This address first appears in the 1913 city directory, when it was identified as the offices of Sanborn & Houston. In 1910, the city directory had listed a 906-08 8th Avenue as the site of the Orpheum Airdome. Therefore, it appears that the building was erected between 1911 and 1913. Sanborn & Houston was one of the oldest real estate and insurance firms in Greeley. The company's roots extended to the founding of the Union Colony in 1870. Civil War veteran John F. Sanborn was one of the first colonists, and the Greeley Tribune on 1 November 1870 advertised "J.F. Sanborn, Fire & Life Insurance Agent." J.F. Sanborn died in 1876, and his son Burton D. Sanborn took over the insurance and real estate business. In 1882 he purchased A.E. Gipson's interest in some insurance agencies. Sanborn associated with J.B. Phillips in Sanborn, Phillips & Co. about 1887. Sanborn was later joined in his agency by George M. Houston, who worked as a bookkeeper and insurance representative, and eventually married Sanborn's daughter (sources vary on the exact date Houston entered the firm). Houston became manager of the office, and, by 1905, the firm was reorganized as Sanborn and Houston. Sanborn began to focus on agricultural real estate and the development of irrigation systems. Houston served as mayor of Greeley (1909-1910) and president of the Normal School Board (1909-15). In 1914 Sanborn died, and, the following year, Houston organized the Greeley Loan Company. By 1921 the company required more capital for expansion of the business, and increased its capitalization from $25,000 to $150,000. The company's operations included fire insurance, automobile insurance, farm and real estate loans, security brokerage, management of real estate, and property appraisal. A 1921 newspaper article includes a photograph of the agency, which then included the two-story building (this building) and the one-story buildings on either side. A history of the company in the files of the City of Greeley Museums notes, "In the early twenties [the company] began to falter as George Houston began to spend more time farming and developing water than watching after the agency." In 1923 the company was taken over by the Greeley Abstract Company, and Charles A. Lee became manager of the insurance department. City directories indicate that by 1928 the building housed the offices of the Greeley Building Loan Association, Lower Latham Extension Ditch Company, Weld Realty, Greeley Drain Extension Ditch Company, and the Greeley Masonic Temple Association. These offices were still listed here in 1935. By 1940, Blagen's Beauty was housed here, followed by the Inland Insurance Agency by 1950. Brook's Jewelry occupied the building in 1960, and Briar Ltd. was here in 1970.