Out of the Ashes
Updated: May 4
According to Dictionary.com, the phoenix, “a mythical bird of great beauty”, lives for hundreds of years before setting itself alight. Out of the ashes it rises, again and again, “in the freshness of youth” to live another lifetime. This image of rebirth and renewal speaks volumes about our desire for versatility and resilience. Phoenix can also be used to describe a “thing that has become renewed or restored after suffering calamity or apparent annihilation.”
In 1878, the six year old Longmont Press moved from the corner of 3rd & Main to the ground floor of 336-338 Main Street. Elmer and Fred Beckwith used Washington hand presses and set the type by hand to produce their weekly publication, the Longmont Sentinel. Unfortunately, after only a year in the new building, calamity struck.
At 1:00am on September 12, 1879, a fire broke out on Main Street. In an effort to save their neighbors, Hubbard’s Store, the Beckwiths “paid no attention to their own goods and lost everything, including the entire press office and all their household goods,” according to the City of Longmont’s Fire History. Sadly, few buildings were spared along Main Street that morning and three people were left severely injured.
The Beckwiths attempted to publish their paper elsewhere for a bit; but truly, the Longmont Press perished in that fire. However, the Press was reborn as the Weekly Times when the plant was rebuilt at the 336-338 Main Street address. At the time, Elmer Beckwith penned a renewal plea to his loyal subscribers. He promised that he would “soon recover from his heavy losses in the great fire.” “When that time shall have come, the entire means and abilities of the editor will be devoted to the end of making the PRESS not only the leading but the best newspaper in the state,” he assured. The newspaper would remake itself one more time, as The Longmont Call, before leaving the building for a new plant on Fourth Avenue. After many mergers and revamps, that paper is now the daily Longmont Times-Call, based out of the Daily Camera building in Boulder, Colorado.
After the newspaper press and offices departed, the brick building did not lack for reinvention. Over the last 120 years, 336-338 Main Street has housed both residents and businesses of a great variety. Upstairs, a boarding house accommodated a city clerk, a janitor, an editor, laborers, and many more. Downstairs there have been restaurants, a hat shop, a cigar manufacturer, bakeries, tutors, voice instructors, photographers, and barbers. Each of the residents left behind their “ashes” in the form of remnants: layers of paint and wallpaper (up to ten coats in places), toys, faded notes and advertisements, pieces of silver and crockery, newspaper clippings, spools of thread and clothespins, seed packets, and paintings.
The beautiful, brick building at 336-338 Main St. in Longmont, Colorado has burned, literally and figuratively, many times in the last 140 odd years. Each time, it has rebuilt and remade itself. The most recent iteration of the historic building is the Times Collaborative, the premier Longmont coworking space, run by Heather Marvin, who’s a bit of a phoenix herself.
Heather left her job four years ago with the desire to reawaken her “entrepreneurial spirit.” In 2018, Heather purchased 338 Main Street. She has been refurbishing the building: making sure to stay true to the history and bones of the structure, while updating it to accommodate the modern businessperson. Her goal was to create a visually and mentally stimulating space for people to work and collaborate. It is hard to stay on task when you’re isolated at home. The Times Collaborative combines history and beauty, work and exchange, with an eye toward meaningful community events. Heather promotes the creation of a diverse working community with ties to the greater surrounding community.
As we all rise out of the ashes of the last year and struggle to reinvent ourselves, Heather and The Times Collaborative are a symbol of hope and support, wrapped in an inspiring package. Stop by to say hi or utilize some space, and learn more about what The Times Collaborative is up to!
We are always eager to learn more about the distant and recent past of our building. If you know any bits of our history, please share! And follow us on Instagram and Facebook for more pictures and stories about our journey and renovation.