Talon News - Good Local News

By Jacque Ritchie



October 27, 2017

Back then: 1954, L to R, Houston Perry, unknown, ? Kirkpatrick, Gerald Williams, unknown, Jim Dusenbery, Van Simpson

Autumn is upon us. Crisp mornings give way to warm afternoons, the aroma of roasting green chili fills the air. Here in Aztec this is also the time when local folk may take a moment to reflect on days-gone-by. A simpler time before cell-phones and the Internet.

The Dusenbery clan is a bona-fide founding family of Aztec. This year marks 80 years Dusenbery's Auto Parts that has been serving the Aztec community at its present location.

Colorado native Edward B. Dusenbery and his bride Cornelius came to Aztec in 1910 with four horses, a car and a dream. In those lean times the family stayed with a friend, Joseph Ray. Soon the young family moved into a one room house, and the kids slept in two tents fastened to the side of the house. The years passed and the family moved several times before settling in a house on White Ave., built by Col. Williams. In the spring of 1915 E.B. Dusenbery homesteaded land in the Farmington glade area for the purpose of dry-farming. Sons, James and Jesse road a Shetland pony to the schoolhouse in the glade. By 1921 Cornelius moved back to Aztec next door to Brewers Hardware Store while Edward stayed on the homestead and did the farming. The couple were not apart for long, and after moving around town for a few more years, the family built an adobe house on East Blanco Street in 1930. Despite the challenges presented by the great depression, on November 1, 1934 Jim and Jesse opened the Court Service Station on the corner of Chaco and Mesa Verde. The building survives to this day and features two antique wooden rolling garage bay doors.

In 1937 brother Jesse moved to Yuma, Arizona. That same year Jim purchased a building at 112 West Chaco for $4000 and opened up shop. In 1939, Jim began selling Studebakers to the automobile hungry community.

In 1940 Jim managed to take his mind off work long enough to marry Elta Apperson. Bob Dusenbery was born in 1941 and Bill in 1947, followed by Ben in 1952.

The Dusenbery auto shop has evolved over the years taking on many incarnations. For a time Jim sold Philco and Maytag appliances and radios and operated a auto wrecker service. After WWII, when new cars were once again available for sale to the public, Jim and business partner Bud Hancock ramped-up the new car sales department. Dusenbery and Hancock reportedly made 24 trips over Wolf Creek Pass, in winter, in 30 days. The men traveled to Walsenburg, Colorado to off-load vehicles from the train and bring them back to Aztec. Jim always claimed that the best car to travel over Wolf Creek Pass in winter was the 1950 Studebaker Land Cruiser. Over the years Dusenbery's have sold Studebakers, Hudsons, Datsuns and Nissan's. Jim was not a man to let the grass grow under his boots as he amassed an impressive family legacy purchasing property and opening various businesses along the way. In 1955 Jim opened Jim's Frontier on Main street where he sold western wear, guns, sporting goods and boats.

In 1984 after 50 years of serving the community, Jim Dusenbery was honored by the Aztec Chamber of Commerce. Jim passed away December 6, 1987. Reportedly the funeral was an event befitting the man. The whole town turned out to pay their respects. The casket was loaded on the back of his Studebaker flatbed truck that led the funeral procession down Main Avenue.

When asked how it was to grow up Dusenbery in Aztec Bill said, "Well, I never really thought about it much ... my dad was just my dad, I thought the world of him."

Even before their father's passing, brothers Bill and Bob had taken over the lion's share of the day-to-day business chores. Today Dusenbery's still boasts a fully stocked auto parts store and the showroom is now full of state-of-the-art Can-Am's. Outside the lots are full of new and used trailers. Bill and Bob Dusenbery are men of few words but both have inherited their father's fierce work ethic. Bill remarked, "Like everybody else, we just do what we gotta do to make a living."

On this anniversary, all of us here at the TALON want to congratulate a family of hard-working visionaries that have helped shape our community since its inception. Stop in and say hi to Bill and Bob and all the good folks over at Dusenbery's.


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