[July 2019 | San Juan Silver Stage]
Story by Samantha Tisdel Wright
Photos by Kathryn R. Burke and Carolyn Wilcox
EVERY DAY, ALL SUMMER LONG, the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad delivers the world to the streets of Silverton. Train passengers from around the globe wash in and out of town, like the tide, spending their money as they come and go, while nurturing a surprisingly diverse downtown business district in the picturesque former mining town.
Greene Street (Silverton’s “Main Street”) is named after George Greene, an early pioneer and city father who brought the first smelter equipment into Baker’s Park in 1874.
The Greene Street Landmark District is comprised of many elegant buildings (mostly built between 1882 and 1910) that are now chock-a-block full of gift stores and galleries just waiting to be discovered. Many of these establishments have been here for decades – even generations. Others are brand new, bringing fresh energy and products to Silverton’s retail ecosystem.
Walk into Fetch’s Mining & Mercantile in the heart of Silverton’s “Golden Block” at 1231 Greene Street, and you’ll find a little bit of everything. Christmas ornaments, sleds, puzzles, a huge selection of books about the local area, fun signs and post cards, an abundance of t-shirts and hoodies, mugs, walking sticks, stuffed animals, rocks and crystals, baby clothes and more.
Proprietor (and San Juan County Commissioner) Scott “Fetch” Fetchenhier has been tending the till here for 38 years and makes a point of treating his customers like friends and family. “It’s our personal touch that sets us apart,” he said. Fetch and his loyal team of longtime employees happily dispense information on hiking, jeeping and the mining history of the area – and an occasional joke or two. (Watch out for those rattlesnake eggs.)
A few doors down, The Train Store (1257 Greene St.) is the place to shop if you love trains (or love someone who loves them). The store offers all manner of rail fan paraphernalia – from pins and patches to railroad spikes and crossing lights to beloved children’s train books, plus a huge selection of pen-and-ink drawings by the late railroad artist Herschel Lee Scott III. Many items fall in the $5-$20 price range. Proprietor Bob Boeder (who recently bought the store from its previous owners) has diversified the store’s offerings to include collectible aviation treasures, as well.
Deanna Gallegos can trace her family roots in Silverton back three generations, but her gift store and gallery, the Chocolate Dog Boutique (1303 Greene Street) is the new kid on the block. Named after her “business partner” Ruger (a friendly chocolate lab who hangs out in a kennel behind the counter), the shop showcases a wide variety of locally-grown and regionally-made jewelry, edible treats, fine art and handicrafts – including a line of collars made by Rocky Mountain Hound.
A few doors up, on the other side of Handlebars, you’ll find Weathertop Wovens, a working weaving studio producing fine handwoven shawls, hooded pullovers, jackets and more, made from natural fibers woven on authentic handmade looms, and sewn on the premises. Featured by Rand McNally as “Best of the Road,” and Frommer’s as “our favorite shop in Silverton.” A destination since 2001.
Cross the street here, head back toward the Teller House Hotel, a Silverton landmark. That building is also home to White Eyes Gallery. Loyal customers return year after year to buy authentic, museum-quality, indigenous, North American jewelry and art. Proprietor Lila Hannah, whose Cherokee name is White Eyes, abides by the motto, “First educate, then sell.” Spending time in her gallery is indeed an education, and a feast for the eyes. Hannah and her husband, Rob, are extremely knowledgeable about each artist represented in the gallery, and the processes used to make each work of art. Whether you are in the market for a unique, one-of-a-kind piece of Mata Ortiz pottery, a Native American stone fetish, sacred sandpainting or rug, you’re sure to find something you adore.
Head south, past Outdoor World, which carries a wonderful collection of books and gear for sports enthusiasts. Next stop is Ortega Trading, another long-estabished Silverton business with an outstanding collectiion of Native American handicrafts and jewelry.
The next block hosts Henry Smith’s Gifts. More than a gift store, it is also a gallery, with a large collection of colorfully-glazed, made-in-Colorado pottery, southwestern-style metal crosses, Dean Crouser wildlife paintings and more. Next door is Ye Olde Livery & Kurrowong Gallery at 1120 Greene St. It is housed inside a historic building dating back to 1897 that was once a working livery run by the Silverton Transfer Company. Today, the crooked old livery doors usher visitors into a shopping experience that is like nothing else in Silverton. Every nook and cranny is filled with surprises – Turkish dishes, French soaps, Oaxacan wood carvings, Native American sculptures. The best surprise is in the very back, where proprietor and artist Edith Eggett, who is originally from Australia, displays her unique, primitive paintings that take their inspiration from Australian Aboriginal art.
Looking for more places to shop till you drop? Read on for our comprehensive Greene Street Shopping Guide.
Greene Street Shopping Guide
900 Block – West Side
Sand and Snow Studio, 939 Greene St. – A working artist’s studio featuring fine art by Silverton landscape painter, Eileen Fjerstad.
1100 Block – East Side
Ye Olde Livery & Kurrowong Gallery, 1120 Greene St. – Gift shop and art gallery located in an historic livery building, featuring paintings by Australia native and longtime Silverton resident, Edith Eggett.
Henry Smith’s Gifts, 1150 Greene St. – Handmade Colorado pottery and other unique items; proprietor is Edith Mary Eggett (the daughter of Edith Eggett right next door).
K&C Traders, 1152 Greene St. – Unique and locally-mined astorite jewelry and more.
1100 Block – West Side
Art Hawk Studio, Silverton’s newest art gallery, featuring fine art landscape and wildlife paintings by artist and falconer, Maria Lehman.
Silverton Harley Davidson, 1139 Greene St. – World’s highest Harley-Davidson store, selling licensed apparel and gear. Does not sell bikes, parts or service.
My Favorite Things, 1145 Greene St. – Feminine clothing, jewelry and knick-knacks. Women’s concealed-carry handbags. Victorian, Steampunk, “Anything that blings.”
1200 Block – East Side
Silverton Soap Box, 1206 Greene St. – Artisan bath and body products made on the premises.
Precious in Nature, 1214 Greene St. – Fine jewelry and gemstones, amethyst geodes, gifts and more.
Indian Trading Post, 1228 Greene St. – Native American jewelry and art.
Outdoor World & Route 550 Gifts, 1234 Greene St. – All-weather gear, books and maps, camping supplies, knives, souvenirs.
Great Divide, 1248 Greene St. – Tees, hoodies, books and jewelry, Colorado gifts and souvenirs, Columbia apparel, footwear by Merrell, Tiva and more.
White Eyes Gallery, 1250 Greene St. – Fine indigenous art and jewelry from the North American continent.
1200 Block – West Side
Fetch’s Mining & Mercantile, 1231 Greene St. – Gifts galore. Humorous signs and t-shirts. Books and maps. Free advice.
Rocky Mountain Gifts, 1237 Greene St. – Birdhouses, Christmas ornaments, amber jewelry, local artisans’ creations.
Silverton Minerals & Gifts, 1245 Greene St. – T-shirts and souvenirs, since 1972.
Enameling Shop, 1249 Greene St. – Unique enamel jewelry handcrafted on the premises. (The enameling process consists of applying colored glass to a copper base and then fusing the two together with intense heat.)
The Train Store, 1257 Greene St. (Profiled)
Storyteller Indian Store, 1269 Greene St. – Excellent selection of authentic Native American jewelry, rugs, pottery, and art.
Skyflower Boutique, 1269 Greene St. – Women’s whimsical boutique fashion and made-in-Colorado items.
1300 Block – East Side
Orange Crate, 1320 Greene St. – Cowhides and sheepskins, Minnetonka moccasins, cowboy hats, arrowheads, suspenders … and a little bit of everything. “People walk in here and say, ‘If you don’t have it, they don’t make it,” laughs proprietor Teki Eggett, a friendly Silverton native who is part of the Eggett family retail consortium.
1300 Block – West Side
Chocolate Dog Boutique, 1303 Greene St. – A showcase for local wine, local chocolate, and local artisans.
Adelaide’s Antiques, 1327 Greene St. – Silverton’s only antique shop. Come in for a treasure hunt!
Wrought Canvas, 1333 Greene St. – Canvas products and custom canvas fabrication shop. Brand new store. Part of the Eggett family retail consortium.
Weathertop Wovens. Featured. 1335 Greene St. – A working weaving studio producing fine handwoven shawls, hooded pullovers, jackets and more, made from natural fibers woven on authentic handmade looms, and sewn on the premises.