We have finally gotten some much needed snow in the past two weeks. However, we still need about two to three more feet over the next two to three months.
Since the winter has been mild, we have had time to explore some different places. One of those places is the new, but old, South Park Mercantile which reopened in December. Jim and I took a snowy Saturday morning and visited with Linda Friel the Manager. Referring to the store as the “The Merc,” Linda explained that the store is owned by the South Hartsel Grazing Association, a nonprofit agricultural organization. SHGA President, Chuck Friel and his wife, Linda, were instrumental in the cleanup and reconstruction of the historic building. As Linda explains it, “We really wanted to create a space that the community is proud of, but also serves a purpose.”
At this point, Linda showed me some of the old document books they uncovered in the trash as she and Chuck removed layers of dust and mold to restore the old building. One was a portfolio of bonds and share certificates for The Merc. The other was a book of meeting minutes of the Association dating back to 1917. These are beautifully displayed on the original bar which was salvageable in the restoration. Behind the bar, you will see original cabinetry and a framed room size mirror just like you would see in old 19th century stores and saloons.
Finally, remember that the SHGA, a non-profic association, has funded the restoration of The Merc as more than a museum. It is actually a store packed with staples and essentials similar to what you might see in a camp store. However, The Merc has so much more including some clothing and small gifts for children, the home, and pets.
See the attached picture for the hours and note that The Merc is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Linda is always glad to greet you, and share a bit local history and her dreams for a restored Hartsel community.
Next stop: We heard that Fairplay has a new restaurant; The Hungry Miner in the former Pizza Hut building! That’s next on our winter adventure list. See you!
Dennis Ann Strong