Ouray City Hall/Walsh Library/Fire Department

320 Sixth Avenue

1899 - 1988


City Hall has an extraordinary history. Soon after a state jail inspector claimed Ouray's little jail on the alley west of Main Street was the worst in Colorado, Francis Carney was hired to erect a building for city offices, a new jail and a fire department. Thus a one story brick and stone building rose up from the ashes of the Dixon Hotel which had burned to the ground several years before. Not long after the new building was in use, Thomas Walsh, wealthy owner of the Camp Bird Mine, offered to add a. second story to be used for a library, gymnasium and a free public hall. The gym never materialized. The exterior of City Hall was designed in the style of Philadelphia's Independence Hall. It had a clock tower on top of the second floor and a domed bell tower above the clock tower. In January 1950 fire destroyed much of this beautiful building, gutting it to a shell. A utilitarian two story City Hall was rebuilt by volunteer workers in three years with the hope of restoring the impressive Philadelphia facade as soon as possible. In 1983 a new Emergency Services and Community Center was added on the east side of City Hall and in 1988, the facade was restored, bell tower, bell and all. Today however, the bell rests on a brick foundation in front of the city offices as it suffered two cracks when it crashed to the ground during the 1950 fire, making its tone unacceptable. Ouray's City Hall is on the National Register of Historic Places.

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