Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Daniels, Fisher, and Company - The Growth of Department Stores in the West

While I was researching Denver for my latest release, The Bitter and the Sweet, I happened upon a fun historical tidbit I thought I'd share with you today. It never ceases to amaze me - I'll have a question, I'll hit the Internet for the answer, and the next thing I know, I'm reading article after article surrounding that topic - history is so fascinating.

My original intent was for my character to visit a store before returning to her home in Topeka. I didn't realize at the time that Denver is home to a store with a great deal of history.

In 1872, two gentlemen - William Daniels and William Garrett Fisher - went into business together and started Daniels, Fisher, and Company. It was a full-fledged department store, a definite step up from the general store that was so common at the time. It had three stories and was really quite elegant in design.

Almost forty years later, Daniels' son constructed an addition that was five stories tall and had a corner tower. It's that tower that actually holds the most historical interest - it was the highest structure west of the Mississippi at the time, at 393 feet, and it's still standing today, over a hundred years after it was built. You could see two hundred miles in any direction from the top.

Over time, things changed, and the business merged with another company. They moved into a different location, leaving this one vacant. It changed hands and the store was eventually torn down, but the people of Denver rallied, and the tower was left intact. Here's a modern picture of this not-so-modern structure.

The bell in the tower weighs two and a half ton, and the clock faces on all four sides are sixteen feet in diameter. Of course, the tower isn't the tallest structure in Denver anymore, but it's certainly still important to Denver history. It's listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and currently houses office buildings.

Architecture is something I love about history. It's so cool to see how the builders of the time managed to create things that would stand up to the rigors of the years with the limited tools they had. And now I think I need to take a road trip out to Denver so I can see this tower for myself!

For more pictures of the original store, visit this website.
Amelia C. Adams is the author of the Kansas Crossroads series and also the Nurses of New York series. You can get the first volume of Kansas Crossroads free by clicking here, and please be sure to visit Amelia at her website, where you can sign up for her newsletter and stay on top of her new releases.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016


Today's Blog Tour Tuesday features
Her Independent Spirit
 by Zina Abbott
Will independent spirits yield to hearts bound by love?

About the Book:

Although widow Beth Dodd has agreed to wed Val Caldwell, she puts their marriage off until the end of the year. She still desires to have a place of her own that she and her little sister can fall back on should something go wrong in the future. Widowed in California, she has an estate coming to her that is worth far less than her portion from the Ohio farm that her pa sold to her late husband for the express purpose of providing Beth with a husband and a secure place to spend her life and raise a family. That was before her late husband sold out and left her behind so he could return to the mines in the eastern Sierra-Nevada Mountains. Now, she is in the eastern Sierras, but it is land, not gold and silver, she seeks.

Louisa Parmley has a decision to make. Will she give up her baby in order to resume working as a prostitute at the Blue Feather brothel? Or, will she take Beth up on her offer to keep her baby, leave prostitution behind, and work as a cook? And, will the stubborn German cook, Gus Herschel, who owns the chop shop at the back of the Arcade Saloon where Beth works, give in to Beth’s badgering and promises? Knowing Louisa’s past, will he allow Louisa to bring her baby there and work as a cook in spite of the Arcade Saloon’s strictly-enforced policy of “no upstairs girls”?


     “Speakin’ of Miss Flora, I done promised her I’d not be the one to pull you out of the Blue Feather. You got to be the one to walk away. If you do, I ain’t wantin’ to hear much more about Miss Flora.”
     “I will, Mrs. Dodd. Anything to keep my baby, especially if it will get me away from doing this. And, this man, Mr. Herschel, he said it’s all right for me to work there?”
     “Reckon I’ll tell him you’re comin’ this Friday. If Gus don’t have enough work, I’ll teach you to bake for me.”
     “You’re sure? And it will be all right for me to keep Sophie Ann with me while I work?”
     Lulu watched the woman purse her lips. She hurried on before Mrs. Dodd could change her mind about helping her.
     “Also, I’ll need someplace to rent for me and Sophie Ann to live. Is there a place with rooms by this eating place where I’ll be working?”
     “Reckon you and Sophie Ann best live with me at the Pioneer Lodging House.”
     “Isn’t that Mrs. Ford’s place? Will she let the baby and I live there, considering my-my past?”
     “I’ll speak with her.”
     “What if one of them says no, Mrs. Dodd? What can I do then?”

Purchase links for Her Independent Heart:

Amazon  |   Smashwords  |  Kobo  |  iBooks

About the Author:

 Zina Abbott is the pen name used by Robyn Echols for her historical novels. The first two novellas in the Eastern Sierra Brides 1884 series, Big Meadows Valentine and A Resurrected Heart, were published by Prairie Rose Publications. Her novelette, He Is a Good Man, was published in the Lariats, Letters and Lace anthology.

Please visit and follow the Zina Abbott’s Amazon Author Page by clicking HERE.

Connect with Zina Abbott: 

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Each declares her independence HER INDEPENDENT SPIRIT @ZinaAbbott #SweetAmerSweethearts