New use found for historic Gypsum house
Gypsum’s historic Lundgren house may have a new future as the town’s first bed and breakfast.Owner Manuel Pilas, who purchased the 100-year-old house for $1 last year and moved it from its original site adjacent to the Town Hall to a new location at the confluence of Gypsum Creek and the Eagle River, has plans for the structure. Pilas visited the Gypsum Town Council last week with some preliminary architectural sketches illustrating his vision for turning the dilapidated building into a bed and breakfast.”I had a vision when the property was for sale. This house will be great,” said Pilas. His plans call for expanding the house to accommodate five bedrooms. He also plans to adding porches and decks overlooking the river and the creek.The Lundgren house was built by Joan Lundgren, a Scandanavian immigrant who came to the Gypsum Valley in 1880, and homesteaded 160 acres of land on Cooley Mesa.
Historical accounts suggest that the house was built originally in 1891 at a cost of $2,500. Considered something of a local “mansion” in its day, the turn-of-the-century home posed a dilemma for the town of Gypsum. Town leaders explored the possibility of restoring the house for use as public offices, but found the cost prohibitive. The next choice was to give the building away to a willing taker, in order to clear space for a recreation center. And Pilas was willing to foot the bill for moving the 130,000-pound log house to a triangular shaped lot on Trail Gulch Road, just off U.S. Highway 6.He and business partner George Kondos said the redeveloped house will be the centerpiece for future commercial development that they envision for the lot. The men said they have already spent $25,000 on a basement. The basement is equipped with a water pump, because the lot is in the 100-year flood plain.”The cost will be substantial. We could build a (new) house cheaper,” Kondos said. “The excitement is in the logs and the history inside the house. It will be an attraction.”
Remodeling the house and opening shops or offices there will open it to the public, Kondos said.But Gypsum Town Board member Tom Edwards, an architect, expressed some reservations about the tentative design. “I didn’t envision this much of an expansion to the original house,” he said.He urged the developers to work on a design that better matched the building’s history. Other council members, however, were more comfortable with the proposal. “You own the house and the lot. Do what you need to make it work,” Councilman Chris Estes said.
“We’re lucky to have somebody interested enough to salvage what they can,” added fellow council member Dick Mayne. “It has to make economic sense. It will be a good addition to the community,”Pilas, Kondos and their architect said they’ll continue to refine the plans.”This is a great town. I like it. I’m trying to bring more people in,” said Pilas, who is also the owner of the Santa Fe Furniture store, which recently relocated from Eagle to the Airport Gateway Commercial Park.