Untitled Document
  Dinneen Downtown
400 W. Lincolnway
Cheyenne, WY 82001
307.634.7733
(leave a message)

307-221-6452 (cell)
(John Dinneen, project manager)

wyoman1952@yahoo.com
307-631-1074 (cell)
(Jon Pietsch, project realtor)

jon@propertyex.com
info@dinneendowntown.com
   
  History  
 
The Dinneen Motor Company Building is a prominent two-story corner brick building at western edge of the commercial center of Cheyenne.  The brick building had an angled facade at its southeast corner flanked by engaged octagonal turrets with terra-cotta ornament.  Cheyenne architect Frederick Hutchinson Porter used contrasting terra-cotta elements to accentuate the verticality of the turrets flanking the angled corner facade and to provide a horizontal counterpoint along the two street facades.  Garage door openings are located on the west end of the West 161h Street facade and the north (alley) elevation.  Cream colored terra-cotta blocks are positioned at the top of the piers and mark the corners of the two turrets.  Gargoyles of lions bearing shields punctuate the terra-cotta banding of the roof parapet. The building retains its original form except for a corner showroom that was built in the original location of the filling station circa 1985.

The red pressed brick walls of the two street facades rise from a base of blended shades of brown brick.  On the Pioneer Avenue side, piers divide the wall into three wide bays north of the narrow one flanking the tower.  The ground story bays are filled with modern anodized aluminum storefront units.  Terra-cotta banding marks the heads of the bays.  On the upper story, terra cotta blocks form the sill course of the three window openings divided by brick mullions. Terra-cotta lions bearing shields are positioned at the top of each pilaster above the terra-cotta cornice banding.

Two engaged octagonal turrets rise above the parapet and frame the angled corner facade; they are terminated with a two-stage roof of sheet metal from which short finials/lightning rods extend. Each exposed side has a window opening at the second story level.  The portions of the towers above the second story are accentuated with stacked terra cotta blocks flanking the angled corners and terminating in terra-cotta finials that add presence and an ornamental quality to the turrets.  The upper story of the angled facade has pilasters defining a central portion with three window openings below an arched pediment reading "Dinneen."

The one-story corner portion of the building has an angled corner at the sidewalk presenting a show window surrounded by a section of wall that nearly replicates the end wall of the filling station that originally stood in the location; original gargoyles were installed at the parapet.  Wide columns of red brick above a brown brick base separate entrances from wide show-room windows on the two street walls.  The low roof of the addition has red clay tile covering the pitched portion above the two street walls.

The West 16th Street facade has an automobile service-oriented design and the end bay has the garage door of the automobile elevator.  Pilasters divide the facade into one wide and three narrower bays.  Terra-cotta banding maintains the detailing of the Pioneer Avenue facade. Three glazed and paneled wood overhead garage doors of different widths fill the street-level openings in this wall.

A one-story building west of the Dinneen Motor Company building on West 16th Street conceals the lower portion of this elevation. Second-story window openings are grouped at the north end of the west elevation. The north elevation has a garage-door, a pedestrian door, and several windows on the ground level, and individual window openings on the second story.

The Dinneen Building was called out as a building that anchored the downtown historic district at its southwest corner.  The car dealership, garage, and service station facility as built was a prominent local business and has been noted as a major contributing building in the historic district when it was expanded in 1996.  The Dinneen Building has architectural and historical significance. The brick and terra-cotta building was designed by prominent Cheyenne architect Frederick Hutchinson Porter.

The Dinneen Motor Company Building housed one of the longest-operated automobile dealerships in Cheyenne and the 1927 building conveys the era of the grand showrooms of the 1920s.  The Dinneen family established a grocery business on Pioneer Avenue in Cheyenne in 1891; the Bon Ton Livery Stable was added to the family's businesses in 1895.  William E. Dinneen sold the grocery business in 1904 after the death of his brother and turned his attention thoroughly to transportation.  He purchased two automobiles in 1906 and became the state agent for Rapid Transit and Buick.  William Dinneen built a new garage building in 1909 at the corner of 16th and Eddy (Pioneer) Avenue in 1909; this building was a one-story warehouse type structure with a truss roof eliminating the need for interior columns. By 1925 Dinneen had a filling station adjacent to the garage.  William Dinneen operated the Cheyenne Motor Bus Company from 1924 to 1957.

The new Dinneen Motor Company building erected in 1927 provided the business with a more ornate and larger automobile show room and service facility.  The gas station function was continued and operated out of a small one-story building that projected into the area framed by the angled facade.  During the late 1940s, seven pumps stood near this part of the facility.  Circa 1950, the service station was demolished; two sets of pumps were positioned in a modern configuration, and the station was operated as a Standard Oil one. The location of the service station at the prominent corner of Pioneer and West 16th Street (Lincolnway) was on the Lincoln Highway and the Dinneen's kept the station open 24-hours-a-day. It was promoted as the "Finest Filling Station in the State.”

Over time, the Dinneen Motor Company acquired the entire block on which the facility stands. Older buildings were demolished and newer ones erected: space for displaying new and used cars was provided. During this time, the main building remained little altered. During the World War Il years, the car repair space was expanded into the show room, and as automobile owners built their own garages and no longer wanted to store their cars in the Dinneen facility, the upper level was converted into a body and frame repair shop.

The Dinneen family modernized the property during the 1980s with the closure of the gas station, construction of the corner show room in 1982, and the replacement of the windows. The Dinneen Motor Company occupied the building until 2006.

When first occupied, the building had a showroom portion facing Pioneer Avenue adjacent to the gas station; a floor of hand-molded ceramic tile denotes the extent of the former showroom. The main entrance to this portion of the building was through an entrance in the southern wide bay. Two separate storefronts existed at the north end of the Pioneer Avenue facade. By the late 1940s, these areas had been incorporated into the Dinneen operation and automobile related signage extended across the entire Pioneer Avenue facade. A shop portion with industrial finish, including exposed steel trusses, occupied the western portion of the ground floor. The elevator in the southwest corner raised automobiles to the large open space on the second story where private autos were stored. This space also has an industrial character with exposed steel trusses, wood-framed saw-tooth roof bays, and brick walls, long painted.

Though the Dinneen Motor Company building retains excellent historic integrity, some changes were made over the years.  Circa 1950 the filling station portion of the building was removed and the station became a Standard Oil one. By that time, two garage doors had been installed in the West 16th Street facade.  By the mid-1960s some of the window sashes and store front units facing Pioneer Avenue had been replaced. Additional changes were made during the 1980s.  The corner addition was built in 1982 and the entire window sash was replaced later that decade. The extant building extending from the west side of the building was completed in that time period as well.

Most of the large open spaces in the Dinneen Motor Company building remain little altered.  The columns in the expanded show room portion of the space are boxed, as they appear in historic photographs. The original partitions have been removed.  The shop area on the main floor remains un-partitioned, as does the large space on the second story

 
   

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