Mancos man’s father helped build Durango, brick by brick

Mancos man’s father helped build Durango, brick by brick

Danny Pierce restored these oak buggy wheels in his Mancos garage. He is completely rebuilding a gentleman’s lightweight buggy or carriage to honor his father, who was born in 1869.
Danny Pierce, 3, poses with his dad, 80, for his father’s birthday. Note all the candles on the cake. Thomas G. Pierce, born in 1869, was 77 when Danny was born. At 79, Thomas Pierce was still building houses in Durango, working 12-hour days, hand digging basements and laying brick manufactured at his own brickyard.
Thomas G. Pierce slowly drives a load of bricks from his Durango Brick Yard to the work site for what would become the Smiley Building, which was once Durango’s high school and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Danny Pierce with his mother’s headstone at Greenmount Cemetery. At 33, Lilah Matilda Stonebarger Powell, married Thomas G. Pierce, 66. It was a Depression-era marriage of convenience, but the couple became loving, reliable partners, and Lilah lived to be 99.
As part of wagon restoration, Loren and Lisa Skyhorse crafted a new leather buggy dashboard to honor Thomas G. Pierce, who owned and ran the Peerless Mine and the Durango Brick Yard, both west of town.
Danny Pierce and his wife, B.J., live in a Victorian-style home in Mancos. Danny retired from the La Plata Electric Association and his wife retired from Fort Lewis College.
A Durango native, Danny Pierce bought an historic Victorian home in Mancos, tried to fix it up, gave up, and let the local fire department burn it down. He then built a new Victorian-style house instead on the same lot.
A red silk rose rests beside a Pierce family headstone in Greenmount Cemetery. The youngest child of a father born in 1869, Danny Pierce is the last family member to place flowers on his relatives’ graves. Each Memorial Day, he brings 34 red roses for family plots.
Coal mine owner, sheep rancher, brick producer, the entrepreneurial Thomas G. Pierce invested in coal and gold mines in both Colorado and Nevada. This stock certificate shows shares he owned in one of his many mining ventures.
Danny Pierce poses near his father’s gravestone in Greenmount Cemetery. His dad, who came to Durango in 1892, was 77 when Danny was born.
The Morning Star, Black Diamond, Victory, Osceola, Sunshine and Peerless mines all operated west of Durango on a narrow road that wound past Lightner Creek. This historic image shows the Peerless Mine before U.S. Highway 160 existed. In the depths of the Great Depression, Thomas Pierce gave free coal to poor freezing families who already owed him money.
A small wooden shed on the south side of U.S. Highway 160 and a brick house probably built by Thomas G. Pierce are all that remains of the structures of the Sunshine Mine. Across the road, the Peerless Mine had a tipple, a scale, an engine house with a dynamo capable of generating 440 volts, and mule sheds. Only small pieces of coal can now be found.

Mancos man’s father helped build Durango, brick by brick

Danny Pierce restored these oak buggy wheels in his Mancos garage. He is completely rebuilding a gentleman’s lightweight buggy or carriage to honor his father, who was born in 1869.
Danny Pierce, 3, poses with his dad, 80, for his father’s birthday. Note all the candles on the cake. Thomas G. Pierce, born in 1869, was 77 when Danny was born. At 79, Thomas Pierce was still building houses in Durango, working 12-hour days, hand digging basements and laying brick manufactured at his own brickyard.
Thomas G. Pierce slowly drives a load of bricks from his Durango Brick Yard to the work site for what would become the Smiley Building, which was once Durango’s high school and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Danny Pierce with his mother’s headstone at Greenmount Cemetery. At 33, Lilah Matilda Stonebarger Powell, married Thomas G. Pierce, 66. It was a Depression-era marriage of convenience, but the couple became loving, reliable partners, and Lilah lived to be 99.
As part of wagon restoration, Loren and Lisa Skyhorse crafted a new leather buggy dashboard to honor Thomas G. Pierce, who owned and ran the Peerless Mine and the Durango Brick Yard, both west of town.
Danny Pierce and his wife, B.J., live in a Victorian-style home in Mancos. Danny retired from the La Plata Electric Association and his wife retired from Fort Lewis College.
A Durango native, Danny Pierce bought an historic Victorian home in Mancos, tried to fix it up, gave up, and let the local fire department burn it down. He then built a new Victorian-style house instead on the same lot.
A red silk rose rests beside a Pierce family headstone in Greenmount Cemetery. The youngest child of a father born in 1869, Danny Pierce is the last family member to place flowers on his relatives’ graves. Each Memorial Day, he brings 34 red roses for family plots.
Coal mine owner, sheep rancher, brick producer, the entrepreneurial Thomas G. Pierce invested in coal and gold mines in both Colorado and Nevada. This stock certificate shows shares he owned in one of his many mining ventures.
Danny Pierce poses near his father’s gravestone in Greenmount Cemetery. His dad, who came to Durango in 1892, was 77 when Danny was born.
The Morning Star, Black Diamond, Victory, Osceola, Sunshine and Peerless mines all operated west of Durango on a narrow road that wound past Lightner Creek. This historic image shows the Peerless Mine before U.S. Highway 160 existed. In the depths of the Great Depression, Thomas Pierce gave free coal to poor freezing families who already owed him money.
A small wooden shed on the south side of U.S. Highway 160 and a brick house probably built by Thomas G. Pierce are all that remains of the structures of the Sunshine Mine. Across the road, the Peerless Mine had a tipple, a scale, an engine house with a dynamo capable of generating 440 volts, and mule sheds. Only small pieces of coal can now be found.

Mancos man’s father helped build Durango, brick by brick

A handsome young Durango entrepreneur in the early 20th century, Thomas G. Pierce owned and operated sheep camps, coal mines, a restaurant and the local brickyard.

Mancos man’s father helped build Durango, brick by brick

Like the famous Telluride mine owner and innovator L.L. Nunn, Thomas G. Pierce began his financial holdings in the Durango restaurant business. This photo is of the Pierce Brothers Restaurant on Main Avenue. Their specialty was baked goods. Thomas Pierce excelled at pies.

Mancos man’s father helped build Durango, brick by brick

A historic black buggy in the front yard of Danny Pierce’s home in Mancos. He is lavishing attention on a second buggy and doing a complete restoration to honor his entrepreneurial father who was born in 1869 and owned coal mines, sheep flocks, restaurants and the Durango Brick Yard.
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