Historic Frisco cabin to be disassembled after sagging under years of snow
May 25, 2017
Typically, concerns about historic preservation involve new properties encroaching on the old. At 115 Granite St. in Frisco, however, the opposite has happened, with a log cabin built in the 1930s starting to lean against the side of an adjacent condo building.
The Victoria Lodge Homeowner's Association, concerned about the creeping cabin, has pressed the town do something about it. The Lodge, however, hasn't exactly been the best neighbor, either; for years the three-story building has stored snow by dumping it on the roof of the old cabin, causing it to sag, town staff said.
Yet that is entirely within the Victoria's rights under the town code. Built on a zero lot-line parcel, it sits directly on the property line just feet from the unoccupied cabin. Therefore, it's free to load the cabin's roof with excess snow every winter.
"They're dumping all their snow on that roof," town buildings foreman Keith Bilisoly said. "With that zero lot-line, it just made that OK. I fought that and fought it, but … I'll leave it at that."
Since Frisco owns the cabin and approved that snow storage arrangement when the Victoria was built in 2007, the onus is on the current town council to remedy the situation.
"We should push to get it done soon to be good neighbors, regardless of how it happened with snow storage issues, which are own fault because of code," mayor pro-tem Hunter Mortensen said.
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Faced with three choices — tear the cabin down, spend as much as $400,000 to restore and move it, or disassemble it log-by-log — the town chose the middle route on Tuesday evening, instructing staff to take the cabin apart and save the timber for later use.
"It would be nice to be able to use this somewhere where we're growing but still trying to keep that (historical) character," said Councilwoman Jessie Burley. "To me it's not worth moving the whole building, but using the materials for a new structure would be appealing."
The logs are the only historic aspect of the cabin left, although they are extremely well preserved, Frisco Historic Park and Museum manager Simone Belz said. They were first laid on a patch of land that's now deep beneath Lake Dillon.
The cabin was moved to its current location in Frisco in the 1960s, which would have been prime waterfront property if Denver Water had gone through with initial plans to annex land for the reservoir all the way to Third Street, Belz said.
The town acquired the property in 1997, and it was used for employee housing until around seven years ago. Now, the accommodations would be rather spartan, with single-pane windows, 100-or-so tires in the cinderblock foundation and old pipes that routinely freeze.
The cabin is currently used as a storage space for the historic park. Over the years, spot repairs have turned it into a "money pit," Bilisoly said, and it would now require a ground-up rebuild.
Council understandably blanched at the estimated $350,000 to $400,000 bill for restoring and moving it.
"To move the unit you'd have to update one thing and then you'd have to update another," public works director Jeff Goble said. "It's all working in conjunction where this needs this and that needs that and so on."
Instead, the cabin's log skeleton will be stacked and stored while the town comes up with a list of possible projects it could be incorporated into. Council members suggested using the logs as a façade for a new building in town or for new construction at the Peninsula Recreation Area.
The latter option seems like a fitting resting place for the old logs: perched up on the Frisco Peninsula overlooking the lake that would've otherwise washed them away.