By: Rine Kasckow
When driving down 2nd street of downtown Laramie, it’s hard not to notice a big iron storefront on one of the buildings that reads “Simon Durlacher.” The building on 203 S 2nd street has been around since 1872 when it was built by Simon Durlacher, making it one of the oldest buildings on the block. Before Dulacher had built the brick two-story building, it was originally the location of the Alhambra Saloon but was demolished to make room for the new building.
Who was Simon Durlacher though? He was a German businessman who had moved to Laramie in April 1868 and became a manager of a dry goods store named Ben Hellman & Co. In 1871 he set up his own shop in a log cabin where he sold men’s clothing, tobacco, and jewelry. A year later, the cabin was torn down and Durlacher started building the brick building on 2nd Street. Simon Durlacher was a prominent member of the Laramie community, he was apart of the local Masonic lodge and in 1874 he was elected Albany County Commissioner. The building, in the beginning, was not only used for selling merchandise but also housed the Masonic Hall Laramie Lodge in the upper floor of the building until 1882. The iron storefront that is still can be seen today was shipped in on the railroad in 1890 solidifying Durlacher’s name would never disappear from Laramie’s history.
Simon Durlacher died in 1893, and by 1897 the store had changed hands to the Temple Economy a local retailer. What is so interesting is that the building remained a clothing store until the 1980s, it remained the same kind of store for more than 100 years. It became a bookstore from 1980 till 2010 when it was purchased by Firehole Technologies. From there it changed owners and has become a co-working space called The Durlacher. A co-working space is an alternative to working at home, according to The Durlacher’s site “it offers flexibility, networking opportunities, and, for some, productivity benefits. Perhaps the most valuable benefit is the ability to interact and even collaborate with other community members that typically include entrepreneurs and artists, to photographers and business professionals.” This organization provides a space for Laramie’s community to flourish and work together.
The occupation by this organization is a great example of repurposing historic buildings, the building has continued to be up kept because it is operated by people who care about Laramie’s history and community. The facade of The Durlacher still remains intact and continues to show Simon Durlacher’s legacy. Currently, the Alliance for Historic Wyoming team is utilizing this amazing historic and collaborative space, and loving every second of it. It allows us to make connections with people who can help progress our mission to protect Wyoming’s historic places and spaces farther. We’re excited to continue working in the space and for the Alliance to continue growing.
To learn more about The Durlacher check out their site here: https://www.thedurlacher.com/
And make sure to follow them on their social media: Instagram (@thedurlacher) and Facebook (@thedurlacher).
To read more about Simon Durlacher check out these sources:
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