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Dossier: The Brighton Armory's Many Lives

Updated: Dec 20, 2023

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

Case Number: 00019, Identify Mural Subject

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

Subject Identified: Brighton Armory, Former Headquarters of Brighton Co K, 157th Infantry Colo. National Guard

BRIGHTON ARMORY (b. 1921), Former Headquarters of the Brighton Co. K, 157th Infantry Colo. National Guard, was designed by John James Huddart, the same architect that designed the Adams County Courthouse and 12 Colorado armory buildings (of which only three still stand). The Brighton Armory was one of many new armories built to house national guard units across the state and served, upon its opening in 1922, as the headquarters for Company K, 157th Infantry of the Colorado National Guard. The Guard Unit for Brighton was completed and mustered into service earlier on May 6, 1921.

The Colorado Army National Guard units were trained and equipped as part of the United States Army, using the same ranks and insignia. As today, National Guard units could be mobilized at any time by presidential order to supplement regular armed forces, or upon declaration of a state of emergency by the governor of the state in which they serve.

The building was constructed using 33,000 hydra stone blocks manufactured in Brighton. A drill hall (with a 14,000 sq. ft. floor and a stage), also used as a public auditorium, was installed on the first floor. A kitchen and target range were also included on the floor. Above, on the second floor was a balcony, a reception room, and a dressing room. A boiler, an army-equipment storeroom, and a swimming pool (with more dressing rooms) were located in the basement. (In 1928, the swimming pool was filled in and covered with a new floor).

In 1928, the National Guard transferred to Fort Morgan and the building was occupied by the American Legion. In 1973, United Lumber purchased the building and used it as a lumber storage site, eventually falling into disrepair and vacancy. In 2008, the building was renovated with funding from the Colorado Dept. of Local Affairs, the Brighton Urban Renewal Authority (BURA) and the Rangeview Library District. Today, The Brighton Armory Performing Arts Center is owned and operated by the Brighton Urban Renewal Authority, as a vibrant arts and cultural center (that also shares a common courtyard with the nearby Rangeview Library Brighton Anythink Library). The historic armory building was placed on Brighton’s Historic Local Register on Jan. 20, 2009.

©2023 Robin Kring

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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