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Redstone residents organize to save landmark castle

Jeremy Heiman

Faced with the fear that the Redstone Castle could be lost forever to public use, a few Redstone residents are starting to organize to save the landmark.

An informal group has crystallized around an effort to save the Redstone Castle from becoming a private residence, or worse, being leveled to make way for a modern house. The mansion is scheduled to be auctioned to the highest bidder at the end of August, and likely will become a private residence or second home if purchased.

Eric Yoder, a Redstone lodge owner, said he and a few others are trying to find a way to keep the castle a public place. “Everybody in Redstone is pretty much in support of that effort,” Yoder said. “We think its one of the major attractions in Colorado.”

Yoder said he hopes the castle could become a community center for the town of Redstone, so the estate could remain available for weddings and group parties, as it has been for years.

Pitkin County Commissioner Dorothea Farris, whose district includes Redstone, said she is involved in the effort to find a new life for the landmark. She said she will talk with County Manager Suzanne Konchan this week to begin to determine what role the county can play.

“This is a historical place that’s a national asset,” Farris said. “It happens to be in Redstone.”

Yoder said some of the money to keep the castle available to the public might come from such groups as the National Trust for Historic Preservation or the Rockefeller Foundation. The problem with applying for foundation money to save the castle is that grant applications take time. With the castle set to be auctioned in less than two months, some sort of emergency solution is needed to bridge the gap.

Farris agreed that the foundations are a likely source of funding, but time is too short. She noted that Colorado’s State Historical Society has an emergency fund that might at least provide a piece to the puzzle.

But in the longer term, Farris said she thinks there’s enough sentiment for the castle in the area to prompt Pitkin County voters to support a bond issue taxing themselves a small amount to purchase the castle and make it a public place. She also brought up the possibility of a local fund-raising effort.

County historic preservation laws might prevent the castle from being bulldozed, Yoder said, but wouldn’t prevent the sale of its large Tiffany lamps and the removal of the Moroccan leather wall coverings and the gold leaf library ceiling.

Yoder said he and other Redstone business owners are not in a good position to spend time finding a solution now because they are very busy. Summer is Redstone’s only busy season.

The local effort to save the castle evolved within the last month or so, Yoder said. Redstone residents were taken by surprise when they learned that Castle Consulting, the company managing the landmark, was unable to buy the castle.

“We thought the castle’s fate was settled,” he said. “But everything went straight up in the air really quickly.”

The mansion was built by coal mining magnate John C. Osgood in 1902 as a summer home for business entertaining. Osgood hosted some of the wealthiest people in America at the home, including Jay Gould and John D. Rockefeller.

Redstone is located south of Carbondale in the Crystal River Valley. The castle, formally known as Cleveholm Manor has, in recent years, been operated as a bed and breakfast. It was the subject of a foreclosure auction in February and ownership of the mansion reverted back to Redstone Investment from Morgan Rothchild SARL, a Canadian company.


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