Wednesday May 18 2011
Butcher shop building erected in 1875
By: Nancy Hagman, Special to the Colfax Record
Hunting for Heavy Metal
This story starts with a mystery. On the site at 50 N. Main St., the plaque reads: “The Butcher Shope.” That has to be a misspelling, you say. Every place I looked, that’s what I found. Perhaps the original owner, John Mischler, did it for a reason or he just didn’t know how to spell. We’ll probably never know. Erected in 1875, the building burnt down and was rebuilt at least once. Colfax had three major fires and the records are very sketchy as to which buildings survived which fires. With few exceptions, all the businesses on the north block of Main Street have changed several times. The butcher store was one of the longer-running enterprises. Mischler’s proprietorship ended with his infamous death shortly after he began. He has the notoriety of being the first person killed by the Nevada Narrow Gauge Railroad. The accident occurred as he was walking home on Aug. 27 – the same year he opened for business. His brother took over operation and ran it until 1877, when it was transferred to George Lenische. Also short lived, Lenische sold to Louis William DeBlanchmarie in 1879 who lasted for 15 years. J.L. Stoakes bought it in 1894. The business again changed hands when Stoakes sold out in 1910 to the local “capitalist,” Dan A. Russell. It is not exactly clear when it stopped being a butcher shop. We do know from a picture in the Heritage Museum – dated 1910 - that it existed. Melvin Russell stands at the block with meat cleaver in hand. His relation to D.A. is unknown at this writing. Perhaps the Russell descendants can help with this mystery. Just north of town, Russell owned the pens and slaughterhouse for the operation. That’s how Slaughter Creek and Ravine got their names. In a 1915 article in the Colfax Record, Russell announced plans to “begin work at once, on the erection of a concrete building on his property on Main Street.” It continues to clarify that he owned a “fine piece of property extending from the Newman Co. store clear out to the corner.” It becomes obvious from my previous report of his dealings at the south end of town that D.A. Russell must have owned half, if not all, of Colfax at one time or another. James Moore and Wayne Robinson acquired the property in 1977. Robinson Realty and The Whistle Shop Quilt Shop currently occupy the structure. Known to all as Robbie, Robinson said his real estate office has been there since he purchased it. When he moved in, the walk-in freezer for the butcher shop was still there. The other half was Moore Plumbing until not too long ago, then an antique shop and now quilting. Robbie points out that his is now one of the longest-running businesses in operation on Main Street, second only to Marson’s Men’s Store.