Historic Aspen home moved, cops and kids ‘break ground’ | AspenTimes.com

Historic Aspen home moved, cops and kids ‘break ground’

A barn and the first piece of an 1880s-era Aspen home were moved from the site of a new city police headquarters to the Marolt Open Space early Friday.

That cleared the way for members of the Aspen Police Department, city government and two Aspen Elementary School second-grade classes to gather on the site Friday afternoon to celebrate a "ground breaking" for the new headquarters.

Because the ground was covered in ice and snow, Police Department officials imported a large swath of dirt and handed out multicolored sandbox-style shovels to the second-graders.

"There wouldn't be any digging if there wasn't something digable," Assistant Police Chief Bill Linn said.

After a few words from Aspen Mayor Steve Skadron and Police Chief Richard Pryor, the kids officially broke ground on the new building — scooping up toy cars buried in the dirt.

Officials expect construction crews to actually break ground and begin excavating the site in January and February for the new 18,515 square-foot, $20.9 million police headquarters. The site also will include an 8,290 square-foot affordable-housing complex slated to cost $7.3 million.

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City officials initially envisioned keeping the historic buildings, which include the barn and a small shed, on the site where the house has been located since at least 1885. They even talked about converting the home to an affordable-housing unit. In the end, however, a plan to move the buildings to the Holden/Marolt Mining Museum at the Marolt Open Space as a permanent example of Aspen's history won out.

City historic preservation officials have praised the home, built between 1881 and 1885, as one of the best preserved and only Victorian-style dwellings left in town. It still contains finishes from the late 1880s, including layers of wallpaper, paint, carpet and linoleum, while items from inside, including a stove, bed, dresser and desk, remain in storage at the Aspen Historical Society.

In order to move the home, the windows and doors were removed and the home was split into three parts, said Saul Abrahams, project manager for NV5, an engineering and consulting firm. The home had been added on to twice, so it was split into its original part and the two additions, he said.

Crews installed bracing throughout the home, then excavated around it before sliding a trailer underneath the part to be moved Friday, Abrahams said. The original portion of the home was moved after midnight Friday to the Marolt Open Space. The barn, which dates to 1938, came next and was towed to the same general area.

Abrahams said the move went well.

"The lack of traffic was great," he said in an email Friday. "I cannot imagine trying to do that during the day."

The shed and the remaining two pieces of the home may be moved next week depending on the weather, Abrahams said.

The buildings will spend the winter in their new neighborhood and will be protected from the elements, he said. Next spring and summer, crews will construct permanent foundations for them to become part of the mining museum site.

The Aspen Historical Society will then figure out how incorporate the buildings into the museum site.

jauslander@aspentimes.com

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