`Historic’ cabins are already history | AspenTimes.com

`Historic’ cabins are already history

Jeremy Heiman

Pitkin County is poised to designate a couple of old fishing cabins in Redstone as historic. Only, the problem is, they’re already history.

According to Martin and Joan Fiala, owners of the property, the cabins were demolished last year, though they recently received a letter from the county indicating it planned to put the shacks on its list of historic structures.

The apparent goof prompted a letter to the county’s historic preservation officer, architect Suzannah Reid.

Joan Fiala, who lives on Redstone Boulevard, decided to have a little fun with Pitkin County’s efforts to create an inventory of historic buildings.

Reid’s letter to the Fialas informed them that their property was being considered for inclusion in the county’s historic inventory. However, it didn’t specify which property. The Fialas live in a modern building, completed in 1993. They also have an empty lot next door where the two fishing cabins, built in the 1950s, recently stood.

Fiala’s letter thanks Reid for including the property in the county’s inventory, then expresses confusion as to exactly what property the letter refers to.

“Personally, we adore our building, and over the years have received many compliments upon how well it blends in with the atmosphere that is uniquely Redstone’s,” Fiala wrote. “How could we have ever imagined when we designed and built it in 1992/93 that it would so rapidly gain historic stature! How time does fly!”

Fiala said at some point she and her husband realized the historical preservation officer probably meant the cabins, not the newer building. The county granted a demolition permit for them in November, and the first one was taken down in December and the second in May.

“You have to admit,” she said, “they left themselves open for some ribbing.”

“I think this business of designating things that aren’t even 50 years old is absolutely ridiculous,” Fiala said. “I think these people are getting terribly carried away.”

She pointed out that motel cabins at the Redstone Cliffs Lodge across Redstone Boulevard may soon be designated historic, though they were built in 1958.

“People are not going to be able to invest in these places,” Fiala complained. Sometimes it’s necessary to tear down and rebuild business properties in order to protect an investment, she said.

The Fialas’ cabins were torn down because they were beyond help, she said. They were infested with mice and were poorly built to start with. In one, the sink drain emptied onto the ground in the crawl space below.

“We are blessing ourselves that we had the foresight to tear them down,” she said. If they had waited, they would have lost the opportunity.

Reid did not return a call from the Times.

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