Eagle County’s historic State Bridge property has a new owner | VailDaily.com

Eagle County’s historic State Bridge property has a new owner

Plans call for a lot of cleanup and renovation

Eagle County’s historic State Bridge property has a new owner. The property in the past hosted numerous concerts, but current plans call for smaller-scale uses.
Brennan Schloo/www.beschloo.com

The State Bridge property has a new owner, and she has big plans.

Lorrie Francis, who recently closed the deal for the property, has started what will probably be a long cleanup and renovation.

Francis said she first noticed the property while testing vehicles for her company, CRUX Expedition Trailers, and on subsequent raft trips down the Colorado River. She noticed the “for sale” sign and started making inquiries.

Francis wasn’t alone in her interest in the property.

Joan Harned of Keller Williams Mountain Properties Team Black Bear brokered the deal for State Bridge. Harned said the company had the listing for some time, but interest grew over the summer of 2020.

“There were times in the summer we showed it three times a week,” Harned said. “Everybody had that dream.”

Francis made the deal, and said she had her own dream for the property.

Lots of history

“It’s basically riverfront property,” Francis said. The site also backs up to Bureau of Land Management property, and there’s a boat launch across the river.

There’s also a lot of history. Francis noted that Theodore Roosevelt stayed at State Bridge. And she’s excited about the potential for the old log cabins at the site.

Those log cabins will be renovated, each with its own theme. There will be a Roosevelt Room and, perhaps, a “brothel room,” a prostitute-free design nod to State Bridge’s sometimes-bawdy past. Francis is also planning a “rock ’n’ roll” room to honor State Bridge’s time as a music venue.

But there’s a lot of work to do before any decorating can begin. There’s a lot to be cleaned up. Even recycling everything possible, Francis said she expects to fill at least five large, roll-off dumpsters with trash and junk. The cabins all need to be re-chinked, inside and out, for insulation and to keep out mice, bugs and other creatures.

There won’t be any overnight or online rentals, Francis said, adding she’ll hire a full-time, on-site property manager.

Fences to mend

There are also some figurative and literal fences to mend.

Francis has reached out to the Bureau of Land Management about secondary access to the property. That access has been closed due to misuse.

State Bridge is more than just the property that fronts Eagle County’s Trough Road. The total parcel is 20 acres, and Francis has plans for that high desert property.

She’d like to use some of that land for “dispersed” RV camping. But, she insisted, the plan isn’t for an RV park, but rather a “dispersed RV retreat.” There will be kitchens and bathrooms, but everything will be kept on a relatively small scale.

That small scale will translate to events, too. Francis said she wants to work with local nonprofit groups.

“I bought the property to give back to the community,” Francis said.

Francis said she anticipates having various free classes at the site, too. And, given her connections with the outdoor recreation industry, there could be some gear testing, too.

None of this will happen overnight, but Francis said she’s in no big hurry.

“We want to get the feel for the property” before announcing big plans, Francis said. “But it’s winter — why be in a rush?”

Through the years

• 1890: A lodge is built at the Eagle County site of a bridge over the Colorado — then Grand — River. Theodore Roosevelt once stayed there.

• 2007: After serving as, among other things, a lodge, school, brothel and concert venue — the Dixie Chicks played there before they were big — the lodge building burned down. The cause was arson. A suspect was never found.

• 2009: The property was purchased by Doug Moog, who planned a music venue at the site.

• 2020: The property changed hands again and is now owned by Lorrie Francis.

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