HPC: Holland House is historic
October 10, 2002
The Holland House is worthy of preservation as a
historic structure despite numerous alterations to the ski lodge over the past half-century, Aspen?s Historic Preservation Commission concluded Wednesday.
The HPC voted 4-1 to recommend that the lodge remain on the city?s historic inventory, rejecting a request by its owners to rescind the historic designation. The final decision will rest with the Aspen City Council.
Holland House owners Yasmine dePagter and Jack Simmons have floated expansion plans for the Aspen Street lodge that would entail demolishing part of the existing structure. They fear the historic designation could hamper their ability to update the lodge so that it can remain a viable family business.
While most of the HPC rejected their argument that the many changes to the Holland House over the years have destroyed its historic integrity, several members pledged to do whatever they can to accommodate the family?s future plans for the property.
The original Holland House, a Victorian-style house that Dutchman Jack dePagter turned into a lodge soon after his arrival in Aspen in 1949, is no longer on the site. It was moved below the Castle Creek Bridge in 1963 and is still the home of Jack and his wife, Anneke, who remain co-owners of the lodge.
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A second lodge structure was built on the property in 1956, and construction of an addition began in 1963.
HPC members visited the site yesterday and last night pored over photographs chronicling the many changes to the Holland House that have occurred over the years: balconies that were built, removed and rebuilt, windows and entrances that were covered over and exterior details that were added and replaced.
Many modifications have been made, including the 1963 addition, which wasn?t even built in the chalet style that earned the Holland House its nomination as a historic building, noted preservation consultant Lisa Purdy, representing the lodge?s owners.
Shutters and the tulip motif on the addition were added later to make it blend in with the 1956 lodge. Both the addition and much of the detailing would violate the HPC?s current design guidelines, she pointed out.
?I think what?s really tough about this building ? if you look at the Holland House today, it looks like something that needs to be preserved. It?s charming,? Purdy said. ?When you start looking at what?s really there, I don?t feel there is very much left to preserve.?
No one argued about the importance of the lodge?s association with Aspen?s early development as a ski resort, but the physical integrity of the building produced widely divergent views.
?The Holland House is the best intact example of the Chalet style lodge in Aspen,? wrote Debbie Abele, the city?s historic preservation consultant, in her assessment of the property.
Abele helped the city draft its new preservation criteria, which were put to the test for the first time with the review of the Holland House.
Purdy disagreed with Abele?s conclusion. Neither the original Holland House, which is gone, or the large addition to the present structure are chalet-style buildings, she noted. Even the lodge?s physical relationship to the ski area has changed, as the ski run that once went past the Holland House was pulled back from the neighborhood.
Most HPC members, however, embraced the evolution of the lodge rather than concluding that the alterations had undermined its historic importance.
?This is really hard,? said member Teresa Melville. ?It breaks my heart to hear you say there?s not much left to save at the Holland House.?
?We don?t have many Holland Houses left in Aspen. We have to preserve it as evolving history,? concluded member Neill Hirst.
Only Rally Dupps, HPC chairman, voted to lift the lodge?s historic designation.
?I appreciate the fact that you love the Holland House, but that?s not, in my mind, really the point,? said Yasmine dePagter at the conclusion of the hearing.
[Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org]