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Dancing Wolf Gallery

Elbert is home to Dancing Wolf Gallery, which specializes in ìfine antiques and unusual items.î What is also unusual about the gallery is that it is housed in an old church building.Debra Sherman, owner of Dancing Wolf Gallery, fell in love with the church when she first came across it about 12 years ago. At the time, the church was also functioning as an antique shop. Sherman said she told the owners, ìWhen you’re ready to sell this place, I’ll buy it.î Last June, she received a call from the owners. They were ready to sell. ìItís a ëGod thing,íî Sherman said. She purchased the property and opened the gallery in October 2012. The history of the building is unique ñ the church is no longer on its original site, Sherman said. The church and rectory were originally built in 1914 through 1916 on the south end of Elbert, on the east side of Kiowa Creek. A huge flood in 1935 washed in from the south to the north through town, and most of Elbert was destroyed, she said. The church building survived. A large amount of hail had fallen and had built up a berm so water from the flood parted and went around the church. The water ate away the earth right up to the foundation of the church, and part of the foundation had lifted. Sherman said the parish priest at the time, Father Sidel, purchased another piece of property and had the church lifted onto logs and moved across town and up a hill using a team of horses. The Sacred Heart Catholic Church, as it was known, hosted Mass at the new location for several years. Sidel also built several rock formations and outbuildings on the site throughout the years. In the late 1950s, the church building was sold, Sherman said. In the early 1960s, a local family purchased it and converted the church into an automotive garage. They poured a cement floor, installed a weight-supporting beam for lifting cars and a workbench along one interior wall, she said. They removed the entryway and installed garage doors. Sherman said she kept the beam and workbench because they are part of the buildingís history.The automotive garage was open for about one year, she said. In the late 1960s, the building was bought by ìwhat the locals would call hippies,î Sherman said. The ìhippiesî sold ceramics for a while, and later the building was abandoned. Don and Linda Wilson purchased the building and ran the aforementioned antique store for about 15 years. Sherman said the Wilsons had pictures of the original building and from those pictures they reconstructed the entryway and replaced the garage doors. The pictures of the church throughout its history still hang in the entryway.After she bought the building, Sherman said she spent the summer of 2012 renovating it: adding more lighting, updating the electrical system, adding a wood floor, removing a large wood-burning stove and painting. She said she is now trying to bring back the gardens and restore the landscaping that Sidel had done throughout the 1950s. Sherman said she ìcomes by business naturally.îWhen she was 8 years old, Sherman said she sold an old typewriter and sheís been selling ever since. ìMy daddy was an old-fashioned gun and guitar trader,î Sherman said, adding that he was one of the biggest acoustical instrument dealers in the world, having sold to famous music groups and musicians like the Eagles, Ricky Skaggs and Vince Gill. Many of the items in Shermanís gallery are from her collections, accrued over the years, she said. People also approach her with items they would like to sell, and she attends estate sales, but rarely. ìStuff just comes my way,î Sherman said. ìI have hardly actively looked.î Sherman said knowing the history of the items she sells is fun and important. ìIt’s called ‘provenance,’ she said. ìPeople love to know the history of an item.î

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