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Su Lum: Getting delisted

Back in the late ’70s or early ’80s when I received notice that my miner’s shack was on the list of Historic Buildings, I fired back a photograph of the house with a note saying, “Surely you’re joking,” but it turned out that it was no joke.

For the next two decades, I toyed with the idea of going through the process to get taken off the list, on the grounds that so little remains of the original structure and that it’s more of an eyesore here in the gussied up East End than something anyone would want to preserve, but every time the idea crossed my mind it, I quaked at the thought of stepping into that morass.

Now I’m stepping into it.



Usually, property owners apply to get delisted because they have plans that involve reconstruction or demolition, and I have no plans at all. Years ago I had my kitchen countertop replaced, a two-day operation where everything went wrong: the counter didn’t fit, the sink wouldn’t come out, the carpenter and I were

close to nervous breakdowns, and that put an end to any ideas about remodeling anything, never mind any kind of major construction project.




I want off the list because I don’t think I should have been on it in the first place, because I’m well aware that my land (the structure was valued at $3,000

not long ago, which wouldn’t buy the weather vane on a neighboring castle) would be worth a lot more if the house were struck by lightning, because it would be easier to sell if I suddenly had to move to a lower altitude, because I owe it to my kids.

Also, I’m curious to see what will happen if I initiate this process as a single citizen, without a battalion of lawyers and experts. My first shock was learning that I’d have to pay $1,260 just to apply, but everyone has been helpful.

I knew that Jim Snyder was the next-to-the-last owner of my house, and that he had built the major additions, but I didn’t know until I started digging that he had bought it in 1946 for $63.20, or that he had bought it from John Loushin, who had paid $26.12 for it in 1940 – talk about a soft real estate market!

I didn’t know that I didn’t have, among my Important Papers, my deed to the house. I have it now, but I think, jeeze, that would have been a nice surprise for the kids.

My son-in-law says that the original house was two cabins put together. A couple of weeks ago an architect friend poked around in my attic, where an old gable marks the north end before the additions. He called down, “The lumber on the new part is marked Boise Cascade,” and when I went on the Internet I found that Boise Cascade was established in 1957!

What began as a bite-the-bullet idea to get delisted is turning into the unraveling of layers of the details of the transmogrification of the miner’s shack.

It looks like an old miner’s shack, but looks can be deceiving.

[Su Lum is a longtime local who will take you along on this trip. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times]


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