Iselin home will fall to the wrecking ball |

Iselin home will fall to the wrecking ball

Janet Urquhart

The demolition of Aspen ski pioneer Fred Iselin’s former home is apparently imminent, but city officials are not anticipating the furor that erupted when the Paepcke house was razed several years ago.

The current owners of the West End home, a Vail-based partnership, obtained a demolition permit for the structure last fall after the city flirted with listing the property on its historic inventory.

The home, at 707 W. North St., was one of 53 nominated for inclusion on the city’s list of historic properties. It was one of two dozen nominees that are less than 50 years old.

The historic designation puts properties under the purview of the Historic Preservation Commission and precludes their outright destruction. The owners of the home applied for a demolition permit almost immediately after a moratorium on homes under consideration for the historic listing expired.

Ultimately, the City Council decided not to extend the moratorium for post-World War II properties and suspended the process of adding properties to its historic inventory.

City officials anticipate the home will be demolished in the coming days. Julie Ann Woods, the city’s head planner, thought the home might be leveled as early as yesterday, but it was still standing early yesterday afternoon.

“No way we’re happy about it, but we’re not going to stop them from doing what they have a right to do,” Woods said.

The home has seen several additions since it was constructed. It is notable as an example of the modest residential construction that occurred during Aspen’s early days as a ski resort, according to the city’s assessment of the property’s historic significance.

In addition, the home was originally owned by Fred Iselin and his wife, Ellie. Iselin helped run the ski school and was part of the team that brought the first FIS World Championships to Aspen in 1950. Ellie was the owner of a well-known ski shop – Ellie’s of Aspen.

The City Council, according to Woods, is well aware that the former Iselin home is scheduled to be razed.

The council and community were caught off-guard in April 1998 when the new owners of a home once owned by Walter and Elizabeth Paepcke demolished the structure after obtaining the necessary redevelopment approvals. The Paepckes are credited as the visionaries behind Aspen’s rebirth as a cultural mecca and ski resort.

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Posted: Tuesday, February 27, 2001

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