The Making of a Landmark
According to the January 5, 1905 edition of the Delano Eagle, Olof Peterson and Louis and Henry Bock began planning for the construction of the building, Swan Erickson drafted the plans for the solid brick structure, and J.L. Stein purchased the last piece of ground in the original proposition. With an expected cost between $12,000 and $15,000, excavation began March 30, 1905 and the first brick laid less than three months later on June 8, 1905. Dubbed the “Big Brick Block Hall,” the building opened to the public with a dance and music by Noreen’s Orchestra in October 1905. Several businesses occupied the space, including the Rainbow Inn, Jack’s Food Guild, Ditty Plumbing, Comet Theater, a café, and most notably in 1957, Coast to Coast Hardware. The family owned business was bought out by True Value in 2004 and moved to a new Delano location in 2009, causing the building to become vacant.
Nostalgia Breeds Adventure
In 2012, Dale and Lynn Graunke toured the building and began envisioning the possibilities. Lynn was excited about the prospect of purchasing the building, reminding her The Hotel Jerome near her relative’s home in Aspen, Colorado, as well as a shop, The Criterion, her grandmother owned in Denver’s Larimer Square in the 1960s; Dale was undecided. During a second tour, the roles were reversed and Dale was convinced about purchasing and beginning an extensive renovation journey; Lynn was undecided. The couple purchased the building and began a seven year renovation journey.
Craftsmanship Serves the Community
As a general contractor, Dale led the renovation project, with Lynn and a handful of trusted craftsmen working alongside him for seven years to carefully and thoughtfully restore the historic building. As they uncovered the building’s layers, several surprises were discovered, including original elements that could be reused after meticulous care and cleaning. Two dated signatures from July 1905 and August 14, 1905 by Leo Hanesmann were also discovered; Leo was later identified as a previously unknown relative of Dale. From removing the base and door trim, cleaning off years of buildup and putting the pieces back together to install, to scraping plaster, hanging the tin, and applying paint, the renovation journey was a labor of love. The high quality craftsmanship is exemplified by the combination of original architectural details and modern luxury in both the event center and office suites. Much like the original visionaries, Dale and Lynn’s passion for serving the community and bringing people together to enjoy a good time became reality when The Jerome opened its doors in September 2019.