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Preserving History: A step-by-step guide to historic restoration.

We don’t own historic buildings.  We are only their caretakers. This site will take you through our adventure of carefully restoring our 1897 bed and breakfast to its former glory. We will show you step-by-step how you could do it too with your historic building to help preserve your area’s history. The National Trust for Historic Preservation says that “the greenest building is the one already built.”  We strive to live that mantra. Here you will find everything from the grant process to materials used and tricks of historic preservation to common pitfalls through detailed process.


To prosper or not

Some people come to the valley with the idea that the valley could be improved with some businesses. However, the people who live here are quite content to walk out their front door and go for a hike, ski, or fish in the stream. They might even pan for gold. Most who live here have heard the story of someone who wanted to build condos up the valley. The town disincorporated to keep that from happening. Many times we find people with business ideas on the steps of Goldminer Hotel.

One such person was a man who wanted to run an idea past me. He thought a roller coaster would be great to have running around the mountain we see out our front door. He was surprised to find that I was appalled by the idea. He said he was going to talk to others in the valley. He was sure they would be more receptive to his idea. I do not believe his idea was well received and it may have been suggested that he leave the valley while he still could.

A group of architectural students came to Eldora. Their idea was to make any available space into apartments including above garages, empty storage areas and empty buildings. That would bring more people to town and more money. They were surprised to learn we did not want more people (but the dogs would be acceptable.) They were amazed that at that time many of the cabins did not have heat or indoor plumbing which would make the apartments expensive to do. They left (unhappily) never to return.

One person wanted to put a music studio on the third floor of the hotel. He thought he could sound proof the space so that guests would not be disturbed too much. They would be willing to play for them in the evening. We quickly vetoed that idea. Peace can not be bought.

Various mining companies wanted to reopen some of the mines. In the past, there had been quite a few mines for a short period of time. One of the old miners could go into his mine and chip off rocks with flecks of gold in them. The problem with this idea was the amount of noise and the fact that they wanted to process the rock at the site. No one wanted the view ruined with a slag dump. Luckily they went away.

We had bought a snowcat, with the idea of taking skiers up the valley to the good snow and they could ski out. People asked if we could take them to their cabins that were located up the canyon. It would make it easier to use their cabins in the winter. We thought that was a good idea. We didn't know there was a problem until we read about it in the local paper. Some people thought that the snowcat would be too noisy. We pointed out that it would make less noise than a car. Some people thought we would run over rabbits. We pointed out that the snowcat did not go that fast and it would do less damage than their cars and dogs. Others thought that the vacant summer cabins would be subject to break-ins. However, cars are not going to be able to follow the tracks of the snowcat. We decided that if someone came up with a logical idea for not using the snowcat, we would consider it. One person actually hinted that the snowcat should be harmed. We moved the snowcat out of town. Then we had an avalanche above us and we drove it back to town so that we could take rescue teams up the mountain. We never really had time to use the snowcat other than emergencies. We finally sold it.


Historic Meets Today

This site has a lot of words and some photographs so far but I am working to add some other media. I took video with my flip video camera of the steel being added to the social room roof which will be on here when I figure out how to integrate it. The library in Boulder has a really interesting oral history from the owner in the 1950s who describes the repainting of the roof by her children as they practiced their mountain climbing skils.  This I will file under "Who put those muddy footprints up the side of the Hotel?" when I figure out how to add audio. But actually, I wanted to add this post from my iPad with the Squarespace application just to see how it works.   You could post your comments with your mobile device, too, so there is no excuse not to join in.


The Last Piece of the Puzzle

We are patiently awaiting the last window – the last piece of the puzzle—to complete our Phase 1 restoration of the Goldminer Hotel.  Next Stop: The Cabin.