1959 – Vail property at $100 an acre | VailDaily.com

1959 – Vail property at $100 an acre

Dick Hauserman
Bob Fowler and his son Rob look down on the Fleming Lumber Company. The barn was part of the Hanson Ranch. West Vail is west of Red Sandstone Road. The top of Beaver Creek is in the background. Courtesy Vail Resorts

Tweedy had moved back to New York from Denver in 1957 to work for his father-in-law, C. T. Chenery, who owned the Southern Natural Gas Company. Tweedy eventually became one of the key players in developing Vail. Jack Tweedy and his wife Penny, who later became a national celebrity, returned to Denver in May 1959. After roaming around the ranch for several hours, rolling over bales of wet hay, and talking, they all returned to the farmhouse that evening. They sat around the table and had a cup of coffee with John Hanson and told him how much they loved the place. Conway asked Hanson what he thought about selling.

“Well, John, I would not give you an answer tonight,” Hanson replied. “My son is up in the woods rounding up strays. I would not want to say anything unless he agreed with it. He’ll be back tomorrow night and I could ask him and see where we go from there.”

With that, the group said goodbye and returned to Denver, but as Conway was leaving, he grabbed his hat and said to Hanson, “John, how would it be if I call you Sunday night after you’ve had a chance to visit with your son? We’ll go from there.” Hanson thought that would be just fine.

Early that Sunday evening, the four anxious buyers were all at John Conway’s house on different extensions when Conway called Hanson.

“Mr. Hanson, have you had a chance to talk with Jim?” Conway asked.

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Hanson answered that he had.

“What is your decision?” Conway asked.

Hanson answered, “Yes, Jim thinks that might be a good idea, too. You know, he works for the post office over here and doesn’t ever meet any girls. I don’t know how I’m ever going to have any grandchildren if he doesn’t meet any girls. I could go down to Denver and buy myself an apartment building, and Jim could transfer down there to the post office. I think that would be great.”

Conway said, “Just one more thing – I have never asked you how much you want for the place. Maybe I’d better sit down before I fall down. You tell me how much you want for the ranch.”

Hanson told Conway that he wanted $50,000, or just under $100 per acre, for the whole shooting match.

“John, I think that’s very fair,” Conway replied. “Why don’t you bring your lawyer and come over and meet me in Minturn and we’ll get it done.”

Conway got very involved that week and couldn’t make the meeting, but Jack Tweedy had to go to Grand Junction and offered to stop on his way and close the deal. When Hanson heard this he gave Conway a frantic call.

“You’re my friend, John, and I have confidence in you,” he said. “With Mr. Tweedy I’m a little spooky about closing it. I would much prefer to have you here.”

“Mr. Tweedy can do it whether I’m there or not,” Conway answered. “He’s intelligent and he’s a good lawyer – don’t worry about it.”

Hanson replied, “Well, I’m going to have to raise the price $5,000 then.”

He did raise the price to $55,000, but they all went ahead and closed the deal.

That was the beginning of Vail acquiring property in the valley. Later, one of the other ranchers down the valley told Hanson he should be ashamed of himself. Everyone knew the ranch was only worth $30 dollars an acre!

Editor’s Note: In a continued effort to help the community understand its roots, the Vail Daily for a second time is serializing Dick Hauserman’s “The Inventors of Vail.” This is the 11th installment, an excerpt from chapter 3, “The Next Big Step.” The book is available at Verbatim Booksellers, The Bookworm of Edwards, Pepi’s Sports, Gorsuch Ltd. and The Rucksack, as well as other retailers throughout the valley. Hauserman can be contacted by phone at 926-2895 or by mail at P.O. Box 1410, Edwards CO, 81632.

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