Valore Hardware

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The Valore family has spanned three generations in the hardware business in Littleton, beginning in 1907, but not in the same location.

Richard Valore at register late 1980s
Richard Valore in this store, Valore Hardware Co., 2389 W. Main Street, c.late 1980s.

Abram James (A. J.) Valore was born May 4, 1869 at Stony Hollow, Pultneyville, Wayne County, New York. He and his brother, Samuel, owned and operated a mercantile business and a large fruit evaporating plant. A. J. married Mary Bartleson of Sodus, New York on April 11, 1895. His grandson, Richard J. Valore, interviewed for this article, says that A. J. came alone to Colorado in 1903 and sold shoes in Idaho Springs. In 1906 his wife and children came out to join him. He bought the C. K. Coleman Hardware in the Coors Building on Main Street in Littleton in 1907 and built a house at 172 North Sherman, (now 5634 South Prescott), about 1910. In 2003 the house is still there, although it has recently been remodeled, including the addition of dormer windows.

In 1913 A. J. sold his hardware in the Coors Building in downtown Littleton and opened a store in Nederland, Colorado. It was during the tungsten mining period around Nederland. He built a house there, too. It was used by the family for many years as a summer getaway. Meanwhile about 1909 he bought a hardware and implement store in Cheyenne Wells, Colorado from E. F. Batchelet. [Edward F. Batchelet came from Cheyenne Wells to Littleton in 1904 and built the "Batchelet Building" at 2569-2579 West Main Street in 1908. Probably it was through this connection that Valore and Batchelet knew one another.] A. J. Valore had yet a third hardware store in a small town near Barr Lake, northeast of Denver. His grandson says that at one time he owned three hardware stores at once.

A. J. Valore got back into the hardware business in Littleton in 1917 when he bought the Jull Hardware. By that time Jull Hardware had moved from the south side of Main Street, just west of Prince, to the second lot east of Prince on the north side of Main Street. The store was in a frame building that Ebenezer Jull had built in 1890.

Valore - 1926 Store front
Valore Hardware, c.1926.

In 1925 A. J. Valore constructed the first unit of his eventual three-storefront brick block. This first unit was on the corner lot at Main Street and Prince, (now at 2399 West Main Street). He occupied it for about two years while he tore down the old frame Jull building and put up two units to match the brick corner unit. The middle and east stores were completed in 1927 and 1928. Then he moved the hardware into the middle unit, (now 2389 West Main), and rented the corner store to the Post Office for twelve years, from about 1927 to 1939. Pagett's Candy Kitchen occupied the east storefront. From the early 1950s through the mid-1960s, occupants of the building included the Littleton Cleaners, (west unit), and Littleton Dress Shop, (east unit).

The completed building reflected the popular elements of twentieth century commercial construction in its flat roof, red brick walls with white brick trim, and three storefronts with large display windows stretching along Main Street. Red and white brick "piers" divided the three storefronts. Originally these piers projected above the roof, a feature that added to the building's Art Deco style. Valore Hardware still remains in the center unit at 2389 West Main Street, (August 2003).

Valore - 1927 Store front
Valore Hardware on the northeast corner of Prince and Main Streets, c.1927.

A. J. Valore was struck by a car and killed while crossing Littleton Broadway, (now Littleton Boulevard), on February 13, 1948. He was on his way to a basketball game at Littleton High School, then on Grant Street. His son, Richard B. "Dick" Valore, had permanently come into the family hardware two years earlier, in 1946.

Richard B. was born August 1, 1900 in Pultneyville, New York. After growing up in Littleton, he graduated from Colorado College in Colorado Springs with a major in economics, business and banking. He worked in his father's hardware store until World War II broke out. He left the store and worked for Remington Arms at what is now the Denver Federal Center where he was a specialist in inspection. Then he worked for the Heckethorn Company at Prince and Alamo in Littleton. Heckethorn was building fuse heads, and it needed his expertise in inspection so as to meet government specifications. He went back to the hardware business in 1946 and took it over from his father.

Richard B. Valore married Ruth Kephart on May 2, 1924. Her father was a pastor in Englewood, Colorado. They built a house at 146 North Greenwood, (now 5660 South Greenwood), in Littleton. The house is still standing. Ruth died June 3, 1975. Richard B. died May 19, 1996 in his ninety-sixth year. He had come down to the hardware store virtually every day from the time he "retired" until shortly before his death. Both Richard B. and Ruth are buried in the Littleton Cemetery.

The third generation in the Littleton Valore Hardware is represented by Richard B.'s son, Richard J. Valore, also known as "Dick." Richard J. was born in January 1932 and entered the family business in 1974 after spending eighteen years in the aerospace industry, many of them for the Boeing Company in Seattle. He married Kathy Harrold in 1953 in Golden, Colorado.

In the interview with the elder Richard Valore in 1994, he explained that his father, A. J. Valore, was French and Dutch. He said the Valore ancestors were from France. They were driven out of France and into Holland, (possibility indicating they were French Protestant or Huguenot). A. J. Valore's parents met on the ship as they came from Holland to the Dutch settlement in Pultneyville, New York.

A. J. Valore established what has become the oldest business on Littleton's Main Street.

Third-generation hardware man, Richard J. Valore, and his wife, Kathy, were honored as the Grand Marshals of Littleton's Western Welcome Week 75th Anniversary Celebration in August 2003, and led the Festival Day Grand Parade. The theme of the Western Welcome Week 75th Anniversary was "Homecoming", and paid homage to seventy-five years of celebrating Littleton's unique community spirit, heritage and unity. The Western Welcome Week's board looked for an individual or business that had been in Littleton for at least seventy-five years and in honoring the Valores said, "The Valore family and Valore Hardware are examples that recognize the values of preserving Littleton's sense of tradition and community."

 Valore Hardware-Mckinners 2015
Valore Hardware building, 2015.  Photo by Amelia Martinez.

Valore Hardware was permanently closed in 2005 when Dick Valore retired from the hardware business.

Bibliography

Littleton (Colo.) Independent. The Littleton Independent Publishers, 1888-.

Littleton Museum. Card File: Valore Hardware.

Littleton Report. Littleton, Colorado: City of Littleton. June 2003.

____. Photographic Archives.

The Range Ledger. Cheyenne Wells, Colorado. July 13, 1989.

Simmons, R. Laurie and Thomas H. Simmons. "Historic Buildings Survey, Littleton, Colorado, Littleton Townsite of 1890." Survey forms. Three volumes. Denver: Front Range Research Associates, Inc., 1997, 1998.

____. "Historic Buildings Survey, Littleton, Colorado, Littleton Townsite of 1890." (Report with text descriptions of buildings.)

Valore, Richard B., Valore Hardware, 2389 West Littleton Boulevard, Littleton, CO, 80120, interview by Doris Farmer Hulse, c. 1994.

Valore, Richard J., Valore Hardware, 2389 West Littleton Boulevard, Littleton, CO, 80120, telephone interview by Doris Farmer Hulse, January 18, 2001.

Photographs courtesy of the Littleton Museum, unless otherwise noted; to order copies, contact the Museum at 303-795-3950.

 

Compiled by Doris Farmer Hulse

Updated May 2017