Livery Barn

Drawing of the livery barn in Ouray
Picture by Olivia Holm

The livery barns in Ouray provided efficient transportation. Livery barns, or stables, housed and cared for many horses and mules. Owners of livery barns had to employ veterinarians for sick animals, ferriers for shoeing the horses, ranchers to provide hay, and men to clean the stables. They also had clerks to keep track of freight and charges. Livery barns were used for transportation anywhere but mostly to the mines. The reason that most of the transportation was to the mines is because there was so many mines up on Yankee Boy Basin and Red Mountain that miners couldn’t possibly just carry ore down alone. So livery barn animals like mules and horses helped miners carry ore down from the mines. Dave Wood was the most notable freighter in the area. Dave Wood Road in Montrose is named for him. Sadly, he lost everything in the silver crisis of 1893.


The livery barn in Ouray
Picture by Malori Trujillo
In 1882, John Ashenfelter arrived in Ouray. He had a huge livery business. Between 8th avenue and 9th avenue on the west side of Main Street, he had two large mule barns plus stables and corrals for his burros. He had an office, a wagon shed, and a hay and grain warehouse. He had freight barns containing three livery stables for horses plus a blacksmith and carpenter shop. There were other livery barns too. In 1896, Charles H. Rowley owned the O.K. Barn where the livery stable is now. In 1899, The Free Coinage Livery was established. When it was 1900, The Union Livery Co. opened. Many livery barns rented self returning horses, where a miner would ride the horse to the mine and the horse would return on its own. Livery barns mostly ended by 1930, although it was still often necessary to transport supplies and equipment to remote mines by mules or burros. We only have one livery stable left in Ouray. Even though it is crooked and old, it is still in business.

by Olivia Holm

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