Carolyn Wolfe ends 29 years at Silverton gift shop.
By Mark Esper
After nearly 30 years of doing business in Silverton, Butterfly Creations is folding its wings.
The shop at the corner of 12th and Blair is closing its doors for good on Friday, Oct. 14.
“But later I’ll open it to local merchants who want some of my stuff,” said its owner, Carolyn Wolfe.
And Wolfe said that while she will soon be off to Oregon to be with her children, she’ll be back next year to work on selling her Silverton home.
Wolfe said she and her late husband, Jack, started on the arts-and-crafts show circuit while living in Arizona more than 30 years ago, making lamps and clocks, “everything with real butterflies.”
In 1982, she and Jack came up from Tucson to attend an arts-and-crafts show in Durango, only to discover it had been canceled. They were told about Silverton and decided to come up for a visit.
“Otto (Smith) talked us into renting a shop here. Our first landlords were the Tabors,” she recalled. “The people and the town — we just loved it.”
It was soon after that when Carolyn and Jack also lured another well-known Silverton character to town.
They were acquainted with Freddie Canfield in Arizona. Back in 1982, after the Wolfes had returned from Silverton, “Freddie asked where we had been. We told him all about Silverton. When we came back Fred was here and he’s been here ever since.”
“I used to do arts and crafts shows with them when I didn’t have real work,” Canfield recalled. “I got to know them.
“I was in Pinetop (Ariz.) when they came back and told me all about this place called Silverton. I came here in 1984 and here I am,” Canfield said.
“I owe them both a huge thank you for telling me where home was.”
Wolfe has seen a lot of change in Silverton over the years.
“The biggest change was the end of mining,” she said. “And there used to be a lot more of a cowboy and old Western flavor. We had cowboys and horses running around. We don’t have that anymore. I miss that.”
When the Butterfly Creations shop first moved into its current location, adjacent to Natalia’s 1912 Restaurant, the eatery was then known as the Miners Pick, and had eight or nine shops attached to it.
“As everybody left, we kept getting bigger,” Carolyn said.
In the winters, Jack and Carolyn would set up shop in a mall in Arizona. But Silverton grew on them.
“Then one year we came over the mountain and for the first time in my life my husband said he was home.”
They decided to buy a home here and were set to move in to it in October 2000. But Jack suffered a terrible fall on the icy Town Hall steps that month and broke his leg badly. He died on Oct. 28, 2000, at age 67, just as the couple was getting ready to move in to their new home.
Carolyn said Sue and Gene Cervantes from The Train Store “got some guys together and helped me move in. He (Jack) got to live in it for just two weeks.”
“She has been a great businesswoman and entrepreneur,” said Lucy Walko, owner of Natalia’s 1912 Restaurant. “We’ve been fortunate to have her as a friend and tenant.”
Walko said the death of Carolyn’s husband was a terrific blow, “but she carried on beautifully. I admire her stamina and gumption — and just her strength as a person.”
Lucy’s husband, Bill, said “she has been a great true friend over the years. We will miss her a lot.”
Carolyn turned 74 on Tuesday, Oct. 11.
“That’s another reason for closing the shop,” Carolyn said. “I can’t work like I used to. But I’ll be back until my house sells. I might be back for a few years yet.
“I still love Silverton,” Wolfe said. “I’m grateful to a lot of people — all my friends, past and present. Some are gone and some are still here.”