Koch Homestead

Year Listed: 2023
County: Pitkin
Construction Date: 1880s
Threat When Listed: Demolition by Neglect, Weather Exposure, Vandalism

The Koch Homestead consists of five relatively intact but deteriorating buildings in the beautiful Hunter Creek Valley near Aspen. Today few know of the origins of this group of historic structures, despite the fact that they played such an important part in the early settlement and development of Aspen. This homestead, developed by William C. Koch beginning in 1887, not only furnished the local meat, produce, dairy, and lumber sawmill, but also was the first source of reliable fresh water and hydro-power to miners and their families in the nearby townsite of Aspen.

“The Koch Homestead buildings stand on public lands and are a beloved part of the landscape. The restoration and preservation of this decaying homestead will allow residents and visitors to see what life was like in the early days of the westward movement through Colorado. We are grateful to Colorado Preservation, Inc. and Hunter Creek Historical Foundation for saving these unique resources!” – Kelly Murphy, President and CEO of Aspen Historical Society

The 60-acre Koch Homestead site is located in White River National Forest and is owned by the U.S. Forest Service and has been determined preliminarily eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The Hunter Creek Foundation has received a grant from the Trust for Public Land through a bequest from the John Baird Family Fund and has built partnerships with Pitkin County, Aspen Historical Society, Independence Pass Foundation, and Pitkin County Open Space and Trails for the project. HistoriCorps has completed stabilization of the Shop building and is contracted for additional work on the Road House and Dam Keepers Cabin in 2023 and 2024.

CPI believes that it is important for historic structures such as the Koch Homestead to remain intact as a testament to those early settlers and for current and future generations to understand and appreciate.

Video Courtesy of CBS4
Additional Links:
Hunter Creek Historical Foundation

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Preservation for a Changing Colorado

Historic preservation has a direct economic benefit to communities and Colorado! Take a look at the 2017 study, which considered the ways adaption of historic places has a direct financial effect on the state.

This updated, most resent study, was the result of a partnership between Colorado Preservation, Inc and History Colorado, funded by a grant from History Colorado's State Historical Fund. Prepared by Clarion Associates, the new report document the economic benefits of rehabilitation projects, analyzes property values and neighborhood stability in local historic districts, and summarizes the increasing impact of heritage tourism, private preservation development and the success of Colorado’s Main Street program.

In a key finding, researchers determined that for every $1 million spent on historic preservation in Colorado it produced $1.03 million in additional spending, 14 new jobs, and $636,700 in increased household incomes across the state!

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