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City delists historic property

M. John FayheeSpecial to The Aspen Times
The Aspen City Council took this house, at 522 W. Francis St., off the city's list of historic buildings on Monday. (Mark Fox/The Aspen Times)
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An old miner’s cabin that has been on the historic inventory since 1980 fell off the list Monday night after a 3-2 vote of the City Council.The change to the Aspen Inventory of Historic Landmark Sites and Structures removes a lot of potential red tape should the owner of the cabin, at 522 W. Francis St., decide to expand the building.

Mayor Helen Klanderud and councilmen Jack Johnson and J.E. DeVilbiss voted in favor of the delisting, while council members Torre and Rachel Richards voted against it.Historic preservation planner Amy Guthrie said the property was remodeled significantly in 1990. That project was, according to Aspen Community Development Department staff documents, “very damaging to the architectural integrity of this miner’s cabin.” It was damaging enough that the council decided the house had lost too much of its historic significance.

Guthrie said she had no information that the owner of the West Francis Street property, Michelle Lawson, has specific development plans.A June 30 letter from Lisa Purdy of Denver-based Lisa Purdy Consulting to the HPC states that the house, which was built in 1885, “… has been so significantly modified that it no longer contributes to national or local history and should therefore be removed from the city of Aspen’s historical inventory.”

It was not the first time such a delisting has taken place, Guthrie said.”When the first inventory was made in 1980, there were 287 buildings identified as having historic significance,” Guthrie said. “When the list was updated in 1991, 28 properties from the original list were deemed demolished [related to their historical value], and 15 of those were removed from the list.”


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