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Unfug-ettable family legacy

by Carolyn Newman

WALSENBURG — When six Unfug children came from Germany to settle in Walsenburg in the 1870s, their lives impacted the business community for more than 100 years.

The mother and father of the six (two more settled elsewhere in the United States) encouraged the children to come to the land of opportunity, America. Sadly, the move meant the parents never saw them again.

With the Walsen and Sporleder families here (they came from the Old Country, too) business and marriage alliances began, mostly to form merchandise houses. The last local business with the Unfug name was the Unfug Hardware at the northeast corner of Fifth and Main.

The handsome building in the photo housed one of the first Chevrolet dealerships in Colorado, the Unfug Chevrolet Garage at 121 W. Sixth Street, where the Social Services building stands today. Note the gas pump on the sidewalk and the poster for the latest model car.

Frederick H. Unfug was owner and operator for 28 years. The photo shows the dealership in the 1928-29 time period. After attending a Denver business college, Frederick became a county treasurer’s deputy, but then entered the automobile business.

Frederick died in 1949. His widow, Fern, died in 1963. His cousins were the pallbearers at his funeral; Adolph Unfug (a state senator), Louis, Carl, and Sig Sporleder, Fritz and Dan Unfug, senior.

The photo is courtesy of Fern Unfug, Charles Robert Armour, and Tim Ibanez, and is now at the Huerfano Heritage Center, 114 W. Sixth, Walsenburg. Information is from a booklet “The Unfug Family of the Past Generation 1846-1960” by Chas. O. Unfug, and from the World-Independent of Monday, Feb. 21, 1949.

The History Detectives is a service of the Huerfano County Historical Society huerfanohistory.org. carlynewmn@aol.com

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