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Elster Building economic heart of foothill community
In the center of Springville stands the Elster building, a two story brick structure of living history.
“It was one of the first buildings to be built,” said Jeff Edwards, a local historian and photographer. The building — built by Charles Elster in 1912 — housed a variety of businesses. Elster owned a sawmill at Balch Park, a sawmill in Hot Springs and 47 acres in town.
According to the sign on the building, surveyor, newspaper, engineer and construction offices were part of the building’s past.
Over the years, it has also played host to a post office and a telephone company, Edwards said.
Virginia Radeleff, a Springville resident and retired teacher, said the Elster also housed a grocery store, a drug store and had apartments upstairs. A dentist office rounded out the plethora of businesses that found a temporary home there.
“It’s an old building that kind of changes its use with what’s going on in the world,” said Radeleff. One memory she has of the building involves her youth. After school she would walk by the post office and pick up the mail.
“I would stop and Mrs. Elster would reach up in our mailbox and get our mail,” she said.
The building’s longevity, according to Edwards, is due to its structure.
“It’s the only really good building in town. People want to go into that building because it’s the nicest place in town to have their business,” he said.
At Cowpunchers Cafe, Lonnie Conell said he used to have his business, Conell’s Drywall, in the Elster.
“I liked the brick structure and the wood floors and the ambience,” he said.
Other businesses that have graced the walls of the building includes the Sequoia Club Bar and O’Conner’s Market. According to Conell, the bar and the market shuttered in the 1960s and ‘70s. Today, some of the shops that call it home include a 21st Century real estate office, the Center of Springville, the Visitors Center, Momentum personal training and more.
Regina Aquino, owner of the Center of Springville, is satisfied with the building.
“It’s a good building, has great energy,” said Aquino.
For Edwards the building will continue to be Springville’s best.
“I don’t see anybody coming in and building a better building,” said Edwards.
Contact Emily Shapiro at 784-5000, ext. 1050, or on Twitter @EmilyShapirogar.