The Lodge just had to be built |

The Lodge just had to be built

Dick Hauserman
Daily file photoThe trailer camp that housed construction workers, early June 1963. The foundations for the Lodge at Vail and the lower gondola terminal were just starting.

Part of the agreement with First National Bank of Denver and the Small Business Administration, which issued the original loan for Vail, was that 120 beds were to be ready by opening day. Some sort of lodge had to be built.

The Lodge at Vail was designed by Fitzhugh Scott and, through Scott’s associations in Milwaukee, the Orntz Construction Company was hired to do the building. The drawings were completed, the contracts were out, and everything was ready to go – and then Orntz pulled out of the deal on Feb. 4, 1962. This was a big blow.

So another limited partnership known as Lodge Associates, Ltd. was formed. The directors went around the table that day and raised approximately $60,000 from the group. Within another four weeks, by selling off $10,000 partnership interests, as in the original Vail Partnership, another $350,000 was raised. The new investors also received lifetime lift passes and a lot option. Harley Higbie and I were nominated as the general partners, and Vail Associates indemnified us against any personal financial loss.

The Cohen Construction Company was then hired to build The Lodge. However, because they were not familiar with building in the mountains, they ran into many problems. Nevertheless, The Lodge was completed on time – but not without some harried moments.

While my wife and I were driving west from Cleveland in mid-October to permanently relocate in the mountains, the directors thought that the construction of The Lodge needed a shot in the arm. In my absence, they appointed me to be general superintendent with the job of pushing the contractor’s superintendent to get the work done. I was even put on the payroll at $500 a month. The task became frustrating when things did not move forward.

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 27th installment, an excerpt from chapter 5, “Creating a Plan to Make it Work.” 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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