History is rich in Castle Rock, and the 300 block downtown tells the story.
PHOTOS CREDIT - DOUGLAS COUNTY LIBRARY
300 block of Wilcox Street 1926 - The view is looking north. Visible buildings include the First National Bank/Masonic building, Van Lopik Drugstore, and Carlson’s Sandwich shop.
300 Block of Wilcox Street
If you were to take a stroll north on Wilcox street, you’d see a stretch of buildings along the east side of the street from Third to Fourth. Many of these date back as far back as 1900 and are known as the “300 Block of Wilcox.” This key row of buildings forms the east side of the historic Town square and contains eleven separate structures, making this block the Town’s most visually prominent and historically significant commercial block. The 300 Block of Wilcox Street gradually replaced Perry Street as the commercial center of Castle Rock after the stone Courthouse was built on the west side of the street in 1890. Anchored by the Masonic Temple at the south end, the block includes the B&B Café. The buildings between the café and the Masonic Temple have seen considerable alterations, but their uses, as offices mixed with bars, remain the same. Even after a century, this area remains a part of the heart of Downtown Castle Rock.
“Walking Tour of Historic Downtown Castle Rock, CO”
– Town of Castle Rock Historic Preservation Board
Castle Cafe - The Historic Keystone Hotel
The well known Castle Café, located at 403 Wilcox Street, was originally built in 1901 and known (at that time) as the Keystone Hotel. The Castle Rock ryholite built structure had thirteen rooms on the second floor with the Tivoli Saloon on the ground floor. Ranchers, quarry workers and travelers would gather here and, in those days, the bar was known as one of the wildest in the area. No reports of any “wild west” shootouts were confirmed, but the occasional bar brawl did break out, forcing Douglas County to hire an extra deputy to patrol on pay days. He also was responsible for making sure inebriated cowboys didn’t ride their horses through the bar. After the turn of the century, the hotel and café became a stopover for those traveling between Denver and Colorado Springs. A dance hall was then built over the bar and throughout the next several decades, residents from around Douglas County would attend dances at the hotel as it became a community center. Over the years, the clientele may have changed, but much remains the same. The Castle Café has remained a part of the geographical and social heart of Castle Rock.
Castle Rock’s fire department started in 1892 with a mere 300 feet of fire hose mounted on a homemade two-wheel cart. Three years later, a Fire Chief was named and instructed to organize a company of no more than seven people. Those who joined were given partial uniforms that included caps, belts, and blouses. In 1903, the hose cart was crudely stored in a shed on Fourth Street between Wilcox Street and Perry Street. Alerting people to a fire was done by ringing a bell mounted on top of a pole — no siren! On February 2, 1915, the first volunteer fire department was organized, consisting of 15 members plus three honorary members. It was not until 1922 that the fire department acquired a Ford hose truck and later that year they purchased an electric siren. In 1929, a GMC LaFrance Fire Engine was purchased. Twenty-five years after the first volunteers joined the fire department they were finally able to move into their first fire house. In 1935 a building fund was started to construct the building and in 1939 the Castle Rock Firemen’s Association was formed. In February 1940, the building was finished, occupied, and the firemen held an open house at their new permanent home.