Vail’s 50th anniversary: An offer they could refuse |

Vail’s 50th anniversary: An offer they could refuse

Henry and Leona Antholz. Their ranch stretched over what is now Ford Park and part of Golden Peak.

VAIL, Colorado – Henry and Leona Antholz got an offer they managed to refuse, at least for a while. They owned the ranch where Golden Peak is now, and when Dick Hauserman and Fitzhugh Scott sat down with them, their price bar had been set pretty high.

Negotiations are like a pastoral stroll, and that stroll sometimes wanders pretty far afield.

In that initial meeting, the four sat down to discuss the Antholz ranch as Henry and Leona talked about how much they loved it. They also mentioned how much the Vail investors had already paid for other property in the Gore Creek Valley.

Henry explained with great enthusiasm that he’d never sell for $250,000 times the price Hauserman and Scott were offering. Then the conversation meandered again.

“He spent a great deal of time telling us about his gizzard stones,” Hauserman wrote.

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When they asked the Antholzes to join Vail, Leona replied that she didn’t know what she’d wear if they joined Vail.

She said she wouldn’t mind a part-time job on the mountain as a cook. Cooking was her hobby. She was a school teacher and registered nurse in the winter time, but she’d be retiring in a year or so, she told Hauserman and Scott.

Hauserman sweetened the deal when she said they’d had all sorts of trouble with their telephone. It was a party line and there were so many people on their line it was hard to get a call through.

Hauserman, sensing an opportunity, offered to get them a private line.

It almost sealed the deal on the spot, but not quite.

As for the money, on June 29, 1962, Vail’s Powers That Be offered $1,000 an acre, $160,000, information from a needle in the haystack of documents about early Vail.

On July 13, 1962, Pete Seibert received a short letter from Leona.

“Dear Mr. Seibert: We are not interested in selling or leasing our property at this time, If we should change our minds we will get in touch with you. Yours very truly, Mrs. Henry Antholz.”

They lived in inflationary times.

It took a year to negotiate the deal to buy the Hanson Ranch where Vail Village is now, 550 acres for $55,000. John Conway, one of the original Vail partners, put the deal together.

One of the ranchers down the valley said, “Mr. Hanson you should be ashamed of yourself. You know that land is worth only $30 an acre.”

As for the Antholz deal, considering that the parcel is now the Vail Golf Course and Ford Park, they eventually came to terms.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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