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Dossier: Late 1800s Brighton

Updated: Dec 20, 2023

Sleuthing Brighton Colorado, with a full Investigative Report by the Brighton History Detective®(aka Robin Kring)

Case Number: 00003, Identify Mural Subject

Mural Location: “Historic Brighton at Founders Plaza” by Hans Joseph Geist

Subject Identified: Late 1800s Brighton (later re-named Main St.)

LATE 1800s DIVISION ST. (Later re-named Main St.) is depicted looking at the northeast corner of Division St. and Bridge St. The corner building is Samuel M. Stouffer & Co., a general store, also handling lumber and hardware supplies. Stouffer was twice Brighton’s mayor from 1894-1896 and 1903-1904. He made news for organizing Brighton relief efforts to feed a Coxey Army group whose boat had capsized on the South Platte, killing two men.

In 1893, Stouffer entered into a partnership with Archie Leffingwell, the husband of his wife’s sister. In 1904 after Stouffer retired, Leffingwell established his own business in this same building, under the name Leffingwell Mercantile Company. He built an immense trade and as it grew, Leffingwell acquired the adjacent building to the north (as well as rented a large room at the Opera House for his furniture business). The other buildings, located to the north of the adjacent Stouffer/Leffingwell buildings, housed a butcher shop (later a saloon) and a combination bakery and boarding house.

In 1915, Leffingwell replaced the two buildings on the corner, building the imposing two-story Leffingwell Hardware building (standing today), using bricks from the original buildings and costing $20,000. After Leffingwell’s death in 1944, his second wife Josephine (Brundage) Leffingwell took over as proprietress, with the help of her son, Jack, in later years. The family sold the building in 1961, after Josie’s death.

©2019-2023 Robin Kring, including excerpts from A Stroll through Brighton and A Postcard History of Brighton

Discover More About the Artist and the Detective

Learn more about the Artist, Hans Joseph Geist, behind the Historic Brighton at Founders Plaza mural, in the Brighton History Detective® dossier, The Case of the New Mural and its Artist (Hans Joseph Geist). See more of Hans art at: Art by Hans Geist on Facebook.

Find more Investigative Case Reports, by Brighton History Detective®, each revealing the identity of one of the 20 intriguing Brighton characters and places, painted on the mural. Investigate the sleuthing and writing stories of yesteryear, mystery, and intrigue on the Clear Creek Publishing Authors Blog site, including: New Fiction, Victoriana, Event Planning Extraordinaire, Colorado History, and Cemetery Chats.

The Historic Brighton at Founders Plaza mural is located on the southwest corner of Main St. and Bridge St., in Brighton, Colorado. The mural is a project of the Brighton Cultural Arts Commission, whose mission is to increase arts and culture awareness and promote cultural and scientific opportunities in our community. It has been made possible with funding from the SCFD and Brighton Lodging Tax Grants.

®Brighton History Detective is a registered trademark of Clear Creek Publishing.

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