MONTROSE – When Dennis Schultz was a kid growing up in Broomfield and Durango, he fell in love with the Old West, so he built his own 1890s saloon to keep the era intact.
It’s not really a public saloon, not like you can kick the double doors in with your boot and saunter up to the bar for a shot of red-eye, but more an event venue that specializes in weddings.
But it sure feels like a saloon, and Schultz spent years scouring the country to get the antiques, including the massive oak and cherry bar, that fill the two-story building.
The saloon is open several times a year for public events and dances with live music, and can be rented for any occasion, Schultz said, like the annual Stupid Band Dance held around Halloween every year, an event Schultz doesn’t miss.
The saloon’s first floor has a large foyer/sitting room, followed by the massive bar in a large room with tables, a dance floor and a stage.
Although most of the events at the saloon are private affairs, Dave Bowman of Blue Sky Music Books several bands each year for dances open to the public, Schultz said.
This year, Bowman is in the process of putting together events for in January for the club, starting with Band of Heathens on Jan. 8.
Band of Heathens has been together for five years and has played Montrose several times, Bowman said, as well as the Americana Fest in Telluride and Lollapalooza in Chicago. The band also played at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.
“They’re an Americana rock ‘n’ roll band and have been nominated as best emerging artist at the American Music Awards,” he said.
Jason Boland and the Stragglers of Austin, Texas, “sort of a red dirt band,” Bowman said, will play at Turn of the Century on Jan. 15. And on Jan. 22, cowboy rock ‘n’ roller Corb Lund of Alberta, Canada, will perform, having just come back from a tour of Australia.
Cover charge for the Blue Sky performances is $15, except for Band of Heathens, which is $18. Call Bowman at 970/275-4183 to learn more.
The saloon, with lots of tables and large dance floor, is his favorite venues for booking bands, Bowman said.
“The Turn of Century is the coolest venue on the Western Slope,” he said. “It’s beautifully decorated and Dennis took years to find the antiques. It is a beautiful facility and the style is great, with a full bar, but a lot of people don’t know about it.”
Schultz built the saloon about six years ago, after years of looking for antiques that reflect the Old West.
The bar came from Grass Range, Mont., and was built in 1881. Interestingly, the front part of the bar, where customers can prop their feet on a brass rail at the bottom, is called the Montrose, he said.
“Back in those days you could order bars, piece by piece, from a catalogue,” he said.
Only the tin ceilings are a reproductions, and were made in six different patterns from molds made in the 1880s.
The saloon is set back at the end of a walkway and small courtyard, and closer to the street on either side are two small two-story buildings, one meant to replicate an old bank in Delta and the other to look like the original Bank of Montrose. Both buildings, also built by Schultz, are filled with antiques and lit from within to complete the ambiance of walking into an Old West townscape.
Inside the saloon, between the foyer and bar and dance floor, is a wall covered in stained glass windows that came from an old hotel in Spokane, Wash., Schultz said, which he bought at auction. He also has memorabilia from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show and some John Wayne artifacts.
Schultz built the saloon buildings and seven other buildings nearby, which are occupied by small businesses on North Fourth Street. He said he had no formal building training, but “just figured it out.”
A sign painter by trade, Schultz owned a sign shop for 15 years before opening the saloon, where evidence abounds of his love of the Western antiques and architecture.
Every nook and cranny of the Turn of the Century hearkens back to the old days, from the massive staircase that leads to dressing rooms upstairs to a 20-foot long cabinet, built in 1906, that came from a pharmacy in Olathe.
The tables and chairs in the bar are modern mix and match, but anyone can plop down in one of the foyer’s gold brocade chairs or ornate sofa that came from the last Spanish governor’s mansion in New Mexico. Above the sofa is a 10-foot long mirror from a barbershop that Schultz bought at auction in Las Vegas.
To describe the Turn of the Century Saloon is not the same as walking in its door, where you get the full feeling of turning back time, from the high tin ceilings to old antique signs on the walls.
Even the wallpaper is authentic to the Old West era, with pink patterned wallpaper in the foyer that matches that used in the Strater Hotel in Durango, a place Schultz loved as a kid.
“Once I got started, I got carried away,” he said. “I love the Old West, and saw it disappear. That’s why we got the name – we want people to step back in time to the turn of the century.”
To learn more about Turn of the Century Saloon, call Schultz at 970/209-1419.