Passenger Cars of the South Park

Hallack & Bro. Lumber Company

Builders of the first cars (?)

Hallack & Bro. Mill
Hallack & Bro. Planing Mill
Lumber, Sash, Doors, Blinds, &c.
Holladay Street Near Eighteenth
Denver, Colorado, 1869
Photo courtesy of Denver Public Library, Western History Collection

The brothers Hallack, Erastus (E.F.) (c.1832-1900?) and Charles, came to Denver from Highland, Kansas, where Erastus had been a carriage builder and Charles a livestock broker. We haven't yet enough information to put together a comprehensive history of Hallack & Brother, so we present the following to give you an idea of who they were in Denver, and what they did.

Several early histories say the Hallacks arrived in Denver in 1867. But the 1866 Denver City Directory (which would normally reflect things as they were the previous year) shows them operating a lumber yard at 15th and Lawrence Streets under the name of Hallack & Bro. and a planing mill on Holladay Street under the name of Hallack Bros. & Morrison. In the residential section, each of the brothers listed their profession as lumber & coal.{19} (Morrison presumably being Dr. John H. Morrison, the owner of the stone quarry near which, in 1872, was organized the town of that name.)

About 1869, after the success of the smelter at Black Hawk had been demonstrated, there was an attempt to organize a company to build a smelter at Denver, but the project was abandoned. Some time afterward, E.F. Hallack tried to organize a similar effort, but was unsuccessful.{13}

Denvers first waterworks company was organized 30 October 1870. The Board of Directors included E.F. Hallack.{14}

An advertisement in the November 29 1870 issue of the Rocky Mountain News, signed by E.F. Hallack, says

Five car loads of Chicago doors, O.G. battons [sic], matched and beaded ceiling, clear siding, lath and shingles are unloading at the Holladay street Planing Mill to-day; and having been purchased for cash, at low figures, will be sold at correspondingly low rates.

In 1874, contractor George W. Smith began work in Denver on a jail building for Arapahoe County, and then assigned his contract to Hallack & Brother, who satisfactorily completed it and turned it over to the County Commissioners 5 September 1874. {11}

According to one source, the brothers were early stockholders in the Denver, South Park & Pacific Railroad which, in 1874, ordered a number of freight cars from Hallack & Bro., together with two passenger cars. Some authorities believe the firm assembled these cars from parts supplied by an eastern car builder such as Jackson & Sharp or Barney & Smith rather than building them from scratch, since Hallack had no prior experience in car building, and most car builders of the day were happy to supply cars in knocked-down form to be assembled on-site. Several online genealogical records show men working as carpenters for E.F. Halleck/Hallack between 1873 and 1879.

Poor {41} quotes the road's annual report for 1874 (page 27):

... it has been the policy of the company in every practicable way to encourage home industry. With this in view they have had all their cars manufactured in Denver. And it is safe to say that no better freight cars or more elegant passenger cars are to be found than those made for your road, by Messrs. Halleck Bros. of Denver.

In 1875, the Halleck [sic] Lumber & Building Co. of Denver built the Aspen Block in Aspen.

According to the 1876 Denver City Directory, Erastus Hallack was living on Sherman Street while Charles was living on California, and their business -- Hallack & Bro., planing mills, sash, doors, blinds and window glass -- was at the corner of 18th & Holladay.

In the Rocky Mountain News for February 6, 1877 Hallack & Bro. announced they were associating with J.H. and C.S. Howard, and would henceforth do business as Hallack & Howard. In the same notice they advertised Colorado and Eastern Lumber, Lath and Shingles, Doors, Sash, Blinds, Mouldings, Scroll-work Pew Seats, Glass, Paints, Oils, Putty, Roofing Materials, Building Paper, &c. &c. and stated One of the firm will remain east and give particular attention to supplying the trade in CAR-LOAD LOTS.

E.F. Hallack Store, c. 1880In the 21 August 1879 issue of the Rocky Mountain News it is reported that the assessed valuation of Hallock [sic] and Howards property which had been assessed at $9,375 was reassessed at $20,000 but then reduced by the equalization board to $12,000.

In the 1879 Annual Report, E.F. Hallack is listed as a Director of the Denver, South Park & Pacific.

The 1880 U.S. Census enumerated Erastus F. Hallack, age 48, married, lumber dealer, in the Denver household of Horace A.W. Tabor. (This may be significant, but it may mean as little as he lived at the same address.) We have found no listing for Charles Hallack.

In April 1880, E.F. Halleck [sic] went into business with William Thompson and ex-county commissioner Thomas Nichol. This company became the Hallack-Sayre-Newton Lumber Company in 1883.

The 11 January 1882 issue of the Rocky Mountain News reported that the west half of the handsome Hallack block on Holladay and Eighteenth Streets had become a mass of black and charred ruins. Three separate explosions had rocked the building the previous morning, and a number of shops within the block had been destroyed by a very smoky fire that was beyond the capabilities of the fire department to control. Fortunately for the Hallacks, their store to the east, E.F. Hallack, lumber and doors, and paints, oils and glass was spared.

The 28 January 1882 issue of the Rocky Mountain News reported that the mill of Hallack & Howard, which had been stopped during the past week for repairs, would start up again the next day.

In 1882, the State National Bank was organized. Charles Hallack was on the Board of Directors. It opened for business 1 May 1882. The organizers of the State National Bank were almost wholly active and well-to-do business men ... {16}

In 1887 Denver determined that a new jail was needed, the old one having been unable to accommodate the increasing business offered it. A contract was let on 6 July 1889 to E.F. Hallack Lumber & Manufacturing Company, to build the building itself. Someone else did the ironwork. {12}

On 30 March 1889 the Citizens Water Company was organized, with plans to go directly to the mountains for a water supply that would permanently meet Denvers increasing demands for quantity and quality water, and with authorization to lay its water mains in the streets. Its first Board of Directors included David H. Moffatt, who was elected President, and E.F. Hallack, who was elected Vice-President. {15}

The Western Bank (and Safe Deposit Company) was incorporated 13 November 1891 by Charles Hallack and others, and began business a short time later. {17}

In 1891, Hallack & Howard builders built the George Hamburger block in Denver.

Over the years the Hallack & Howard Lumber Co. of La Maderia, NM, bought five ex-South Park locomotives from the C&S:

1906 - H&HL #1 - D&RG
1916 - H&HL #2 - C&S #46 (ex-South Park #58) XXX
1917 - H&HL #3 - D&RG
1917 - H&HL #4 - C&S #39 (ex-South Park #43)
1918 - H&HL #5 - C&S #45 (ex-South Park #49)
1920 - H&HL #8 - C&S #54 (ex-South Park #66)
1920 - H&HL #9 - C&S #48 (ex-South Park #60)

According to Josie Moore Crum, Halleck [sic] and Howard operated a number of miles of railroad back into the timber and connected with the Rio Grande Southern at Glencoe. {18}

All the C&S locos were scrapped in 1927

Hallack and Howard also had lumber interests in Idaho, and in 1960 sold out to Boise-Cascade.

14 April 2006

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