History

Morrison’s Origins:

In 1874 George Morrison Sr. platted the area that became the town of Morrison, a small gateway town in the Front Range of Colorado that was instrumental to and benefited from the gold rush.  Through the center of downtown Morrison flows Bear Creek, which serves as a source of water for Denver and Morrison itself.

Morrison circa 1899. Photo copyright Denver Public Library

Morrison circa 1899. Photo copyright Denver Public Library

Happy Shack’s “Doll House” Design:

The tiny little building that’s now Happy Shack has an interesting origin of its own, and was built specifically to be the library for the town of Morrison, Colorado.  The library didn’t start here, though; it was first organized as a section of a grocery store in 1938 before moving three more times.  In 1947, it was again displaced to make room for a liquor firm and this time Carl Peinze stepped in to give it a home once and for all on his property where he ran a local grocery and real estate office.  This property, once known as the Peinze House, is now the home of the delicious Latin bistro Beso de Arte.

Happy Shack MorrisonThat summer of 1947 a Mr. William Holmes at the age of 76 (wow!) built the little “doll house” now known as Happy Shack. The lumber was provided to fulfill a debt an unnamed mountain man owed to Carl Peinze and it is said that William’s wife (only known as Mrs. Holmes) and one Mary Wilson filled the tiny library’s shelves by hand-carrying 4,000 books from the multiple former library locations.  It is a shame we don’t know more about Mrs. Wilson, for she served as the town librarian in this little shack for many years.

The original shelves that used to house those thousands of books are still here, only now showing off unique and useful products that are at times equally interesting! Today, you’ll discover a unique assortment of jewelry, concert supplies, smoking accessories and unique souvenirs to take back with you and show off your Colorado swag from when you visited!

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