Scott Brown Realty was formed in 1996 when I moved into the Nugget Building on Main Street. The office was sandwiched in between the Nugget Movie Theater and the old Elks Club.
Reggie Garner owned the west two-thirds of the building and Howie Stern and Barry Tharp owned the east one-third. The dividing line between the two was the middle of the stairway heading upstairs to the offices.
The building had a wonderful history to it, but through the years had fallen into horrible conditions. The roof was bad and leaked constantly, the electrical didn't really work and was always blowing fuses, the sewer stopped up regularly, the place was a fire trap, and structurally was a nightmare. The Town of Telluride refused to enforce its building codes or the UBC (Uniform Building Code) since all they cared about was that the Nugget Movie Theatre stay in operation and they knew that if they demanded that the owners bring it up to safety and health standards that they'd lose the movie house. It was truly just lucky that there wasn't a catastrophe there. There weren't even fire alarms or smoke detectors and the fire escapes were clearly illegal. A fire like the one that burned the old Drug Store building could have easily killed a hundred people, or the roof could have fallen in and killed just as many if it had happened while a movie was being shown.
I guess that says it all about "protecting the public health, safety and welfare" when it comes to government in Telluride - movies come first.
The building was originally built in 1891, by L.L. Nunn to house his 1st National Bank and Telluride Power Company. Nunn, who also owned the newspaper, and was manager or owner of several large mines in the area, and built Telluride's first bath tub, which he rented out had walked into Telluride from Durango with everything he owned on his back about ten years before. His first view of Telluride was from the top of Bridal Veil Falls.
He was a farm boy from Ohio, whose Mother had gone to college, the first woman to graduate from Oberlin College and Nunn had studied in Germany and taken law classes at Harvard - so his claim of being a lawyer was authentic.
Nunn built and designed the building along with James Murdoch, a famous Denver architect. The stone for the building was mined just north of Telluride in the Cornet Creek area and was mix of sandstone and granite. Through the years, the facade deteriorated and aided by neglect and poor judgment in repairs the building was in dire straights and looked like hell when I took over the job of putting the building back together as one structure and finding an appropriate buyer.
Working with Hal Hutchinson at the Colorado Historical Society, we put together plans to save the building and restore it. Grants were applied for and a team of people which included Fritz Klinke and Loren Lew from Silverton, Felicia Harmon from Loveland and Richard Moe, with the Trust for Historic Preservation in Washington D.C.
Ultimately, through the combined efforts of the town, the state, and the federal government, we were able to pull together a package that was financially viable and attracted some interested purchasers.
Surprisingly, some friends of ours from Austin, Texas, Bill and Katrine Formby stopped by the office one day and announced that they were interested in buying the building. They said that they had been really thinking about it and that they loved the idea of saving the old building, restoring it to its former glory and loved the old stories about Nunn, Tesla, and Westinghouse.
As it turned out, the Formby's asked Karen and me to be partners in the purchase, and restoration and ultimately we made the deal with the sellers.
The Formby's are what I have always referred to as "Angels", they did something they didn't have to do for the good of our community. Without their help, who knows what would have happened to Telluride's most important historic building. Their efforts have now restored the exterior except for the tower which will be added in the next year or so and stabilized the physical structure, fixed the electrical, plumbing and rehabilitated most of the interior space including the Nugget Movie Theater, the old First National Bank Building has been saved.
BUILDING BEFORE RESTORATION
The building was designated a National Historic Landmark and in 2000 President Clinton designated the building a National Historic Treasure.
NUGGET BUILDING TODAY
The offices of Scott Brown Realty are still sandwiched in next to the Nugget Movie Theater which we have remodeled, installed a real bathroom, fixed the structural problems, fixed electrical, plumbing and installed an elaborate and expensive fire alarm and prevention system and agree to subsidize the theater through a rent structure that is probably one-quarter of what market price should be.
Interestingly, the location of Scott Brown Realty is the same location where L.L. Nunn's, Telluride Realty was located and where Jerry Vass operated Telluride Realty which was started up actively again in 1969.
The space was extensively remodeled in 2004 at which time we found an old safe hidden behind a false wall in the back room.
When Tommy Taylor, the local locksmith, opened it up, we found cash, gold, jewels and some very important documents and deeds which paid us back many times over for the money and work we had put into the building.
But more on that later.
In 2005, our son, Tucker Brown became a licensed realtor and is serving as Vice-President of Sales and Operations.
Scott Brown Realty specializes in representing our clients and customers with integrity, honesty and fairness without compromise and providing them with the “real” information and knowledge necessary to make informed and solid decisions concerning investing, and living in the Telluride Region.
Real information based on truth and honesty and frankness are the hallmark of the company—we are committed and have the track record to prove it.