A longtime ranching family has bequeathed a landmark building on the corner of Eighth Street and Lincoln Avenue to the city of Steamboat Springs.
Helen Rehder, who passed away this spring and lived on a ranch in Pleasant Valley, specified in her will that the building now housing Vectra Bank, Antares Restaurant and Into the West Gallery go to the city.
City Attorney Tony Lettunich said Rehder gave the 99-year-old building to the city with the hope it would be preserved as a historical museum honoring the settlers of Routt County.
In 2001, the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places for its rich history. The building was constructed in 1905 as the First National Bank and had two additions in the early part of the century. Rehder and her husband, Henry, who died in 1998, used the second floor of the building as a winter residence.
The assessor's office valued of the 10,800-square-foot building at $1.59 million.
"I think this is one of the most significant gifts the city of Steamboat Springs has ever received. It is a beautiful, beautiful building," Councilman Ken Brenner said.
Brenner asked if Rehder's will stipulated whether the museum precluded any other businesses in the building. Lettunich said he was unsure if the city could be landlord for the existing tenants and still have a museum on the second floor.
City Director of Intergovernmental Services Linda Kakela worked with Rehder in getting the national historic designation for the building in 2001. In the 1970s, the family resisted renovating the building with stucco and other popular materials, preferring to keep its original architecture.
"We know that they were very, very proud of that building and wanted to have it preserved as a historical monument," Kakela said.
Kakela said discussions have begun on how to carry out Rehder's intent. This week, the city is applying for a $10,000 state grant for a structural assessment on the building.
Council President Paul Strong asked about the expenses that could be incurred through building maintenance and asked whether work was needed to renovate it. He suggested the council look at any additional cost before accepting the gift.
He also noted the significance of the building to the community.
"I can't think of a more important building on a more important intersection," Strong said.
Kakela said the building sits on the most vital intersection of Northwest Colorado, along with three other historic buildings at Eighth Street and Lincoln Avenue in the heart of the downtown district.
The nomination to the historic register notes the Rehder Building is a rare example of the Romanesque Revival style. Arches topping its windows and door openings in the lower story, and the use of heavy cut stone and contrasting colored brick are details that help define the architectural style.
"Other than routine maintenance, such as replacing broken windows, little has been done to alter the exterior of the building. It remains in excellent condition and historic photographs indicate that it looks very much the same in the year 2000, as it did in the early 1900s," the nomination stated.
Helen Rehder's father-in-law, also named Henry Rehder, purchased the building in 1937 at a public auction by the Routt County Sheriff. The First National Bank, which had moved across the street, owned the building but struggled during the Depression. The building was foreclosed upon in the 1930s.
Since then, parts of the building have been used for a farm implement repair shop owned by Boggs Hardware, the Silver Dollar Saloon, a dentist's office and barber shop.
Antares has been in its location since 1994. Before that restaurant, the space housed another eatery, Gorky Park, which succeeded the Brandy Wine Restaurant in 1974.
Into the West Gallery moved into its location in 1993.The spot previously had been home to the Calico Corner, Mountain Panache, a sporting goods store and several clothing stores.
Vectra Bank moved into its location in 1998. Previously, the corner of the building had been home to a new First National Bank of Steamboat Springs, which was chartered in 1984 and moved to the Eighth Street location in 1994. Before the return of the bank, it had been home to Positive/Negative, Toots Sweet, Resort Graphics and the First National Shirt Shop.
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