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Photo courtesy Longmont Museum

From boarding houses to music businesses, next-door buildings share history

Photo by Lisa Truesdale
Photo by Lisa Truesdale

By Lisa Truesdale

The building at 464 Main St. has a lot in common with the building next door at 460. From the early 1910s to the ’40s, they both were home to upstairs boarding houses—Virginia Rooms at 460 and Colorado Rooms at 464.

Sometime in the ’60s, the two buildings were connected and served as the home of J.C. Penney, with 464 first being used as storage for the retailer, then being transformed into the men’s department. Today, they’re no longer connected, but they still host similar businesses, with Guitars Etc. at 460 and Miller Music at 464.

Miller Music, billed as “Colorado’s longest-running music store,” was founded in Longmont in 1974 by the late Ken Miller. He relocated the store to 464 Main St. in 1986 and it’s now run by his son, Seth. A number of architectural remnants from the JCP days can still be seen in the store, Seth Miller reports, including permanently blocked-off doors, windows and loading ramps that once led to the adjacent space. They’ve made a few improvements to the space in the past 30 years, he says, including “digging the stairwell on the main floor and cementing the loading dock so it could be used as a public entryway.” As for the upstairs, the former home of Colorado Rooms, he hopes to renovate it for future use.