Constructed in 1911, the Edwin L. Smith Building played a notable role in the development of La Veta's central business district and continues to be one of the most prominent commercial buildings on Main Street.
Though the area around La Veta was settled early in the Euro-American history of Colorado, the 1876 arrival of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad brought new opportunities and people to town, including Edwin L. Smith. An important merchant in La Veta between 1900 and his death in 1935, Smith and members of his extended family built many of the stores and homes in the locally-designated La Veta Historic Preservation District.
The Edwin L. Smith Building is also an excellent example of an early-twentieth century stone masonry commercial building with Italianate detailing. The building was constructed of locally quarried sandstone by local stonemasons Edward and Elmer Coleman, brothers who were responsible for many of La Veta's historic stone buildings. Characteristic architectural features of the era include the large, wood-framed display windows with transoms, inset corner entrance, decorative Italianate-style metal cornice with corbels, and pressed tin entablature designed to mimic the appearance of quarry-faced sandstone blocks.