Have you ever wondered how the newly opened Hager’s Barbershop got its’ name? If you have an eagle eye – or have spent any time on the Wellington Colorado Main Streets Program” website Resources page – you might have noticed that the ghost sign on the north side of the building has been deciphered to read:

Harness Store
Harness Collars Whips Blankets Robes
And Strap Work

This sign was painted by George W. Hager who purchased the land located at 8136 Second Street in March 1909 and began construction on the small masonry-style building the following week. Hager and his second wife opened “Hager Harness Shop” in late 1909 and operated it until George’s health started to decline in 1915.

In 1917, Hager’s widow Katie leased the building to the Post Office, which operated in that location until moving north into the old First National Bank building in 1925. In 1917 Katie Hager transferred the deed to Mary Irwin and Mabel Rosencrants for a nominal fee and “with love and affection.” In 1921 the women sold the building to Eva Nicholson who never lived in Wellington but seemed to purchase the property as an investment.

After the Post Office moved out, the building was leased by George Gooding Sr. and G.C. Cannon and operated as a carpentry shop. In September of 1929 the Sunrise Creamery of Cheyenne leased the property to be used as a milk depot and separator plant known as The Wellington Creamery. The Creamery purchased the property in 1931 and the receiving station closed in October of 1933.

Other than a short stint as a shoe shop in 1939, it is largely unknown who or what occupied the building from 1933 until the late 1950’s. In the early 1960’s it was converted into a residence, which it remained to be – although frequently unoccupied – until it was reopened as a nail salon and ultimately turned into the now thriving business that is “Hager’s Barbershop”

As a small aside, I have fond memories of the building as a residence occupied by an eclectic member of the then-volunteer WFPD named Merlin, along with her partner and trained search and rescue dog Kermit. The front room was filled with floor-to-ceiling aquariums home to a wide variety of reptiles and some of the biggest snakes I have ever seen. Merlin was happy to let neighborhood kids experience her wide array of animal friends while teaching them about the necessity of them in the world. Legend has it that Kermit was used for recovery missions at ground zero after the 9/11 attack. Wellington is full of history, fun facts, and some of the most amazing and interesting people you could ever hope to meet!

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