Volunteers repair ‘local treasure’ | VailDaily.com

Volunteers repair ‘local treasure’

Tamara Miller
Special to the DailyMore than a dozen windows were smashed earlier this month at the Tigiwon Lodge in the wilderness outside of Minturn. The U.S. Forest Service has been trying to get historic status for this 70-year-old inn once used by pilgrims on the way to Mount of the Holy Cross.

MINTURN – Some of Mike Arnett’s best memories were made at the Tigiwon Lodge, he said. When the Vail resident read in the paper last week that vandals had broken several windows on the historic cabin, he was mad. “I was just disgusted that anyone would vandalize what I think is a local treasure,” Arnett said. So Arnett called the local U.S. Forest Service office and offered to help. He’s a woodworker, after all. Arnett wasn’t alone. Local glass repairman Dave Many and another woodworker, Danny Bellum, also have volunteered their time and expertise to help repair the estimated $1,000 in damage done to the lodge.

It’s a huge help to the cash-strapped Forest Service, said Cal Wettstein, the chief forest ranger in Eagle County. “It’s outstanding,” Wettstein said. The Forest Service is trying to get the lodge listed on the National Register of Historic Places but rangers feared the vandalism might hurt the lodge’s chances. Once placed on the register, buildings are eligible for some funding for upkeep and repairs. Using an “old-style” technique, Many said he has been able to repair several of the windows so that they look like they did before. It’s more time consuming than the traditional way to repair windows, he said.Many has gotten permission from his boss at Alpine Glass and Mirror to take a ladder and a company truck up to the lodge. The repairs Arnett made to the window panes took about 12 hours.

“It took a bit longer than I had expected,” he said. “But it was critical that it be like the original.”The lodge is about five miles up Tigiwon Road, just south of Minturn. It was built in the 1930s and was used as overnight shelter by religious groups making pilgrimages up Mount of the Holy Cross. Now the Forest Service rents out the lodge to groups. Many has spent the night in the lodge a few times while on overnight camping trips. A few years a back, some friends of his had their wedding ceremony at the lodge, he said. “The Tigiwon Lodge has a sentimental value to a lot of people,” Arnett added. “It’s a very special place.”

Staff Writer Tamara Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607, or tmiller@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado

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