Gift gives big boost to Aspen Historical Society
An Aspenite’s gift to the Aspen Historical Society has provided a significant boost to the group’s plans to repair the historic Wheeler-Stallard House.
The society yesterday sold the historic D.E. Frantz house at 333 W. Bleeker St. for a reported sum of nearly $2 million. Ruth Whyte donated the house to the society just over a year ago, with the intent that it should be sold to raise cash for the organization.
The proceeds will be used for restoration of the society’s Wheeler-Stallard House, which houses Aspen’s museum.
The Frantz house, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in about 1886 and was once owned by D. E. Frantz, who owned several houses and a sawmill in Aspen. The house stands on four lots at the corner of Bleeker and Fourth streets in the West End.
A description of the house in the application for the National Register indicates the Frantz house is an example of “a high style version of the Queen Anne style.” It features an oriel window, similar to a bay window and the only one of its type in Aspen. The two-story, wood-frame house has not been altered significantly since it was built.
Sam Shogren, executive director of the Historical Society, said the group didn’t do any significant repair work or restoration on the Frantz house. The house was sold to a couple from Dallas who plan to move to Aspen and live in it, he said.
Shogren said the sale was handled by Mason and Morse, and the company donated back 20 percent of its commission to the Historical Society.
The proceeds from the sale will fund work on the Wheeler-Stallard House, a three-story house at 620 W. Bleeker St., built in 1888 by Jerome Wheeler.
“It’s going to mean we can start moving forward with the work we need to do on the house,” Shogren said.
That work includes a new roof, new wiring and new plumbing, he said. In addition, work is needed on the brick masonry, which was repaired improperly in the past. The building will be brought up to modern building-code standards, but with care to maintain historical preservation standards.
“We would not have been able to do it without the gift from Ruth,” Shogren said.
The group is working with Andrews and Anderson, a Denver architectural firm specializing in historical preservation, to assist with the restoration. Architect Nan Anderson has examined the building to check compliance with the building code, Shogren said, and checked old photographs to determine the extent to which the house has been altered. Her only discovery is that the porch railings are different, he said.
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In April, the W Aspen Townie Food Truck (formerly called the Bitsy Trailer) made its debut as a curbside addition to the hotel set up to feed first responders and locals during the hotel’s “Safer at Home” pause.