Steamboat Springs A track hoe and a shredder made quick work this week of four white structures, including two homes, some of which have stood on the east side of Casey’s Pond since 1938.
The buildings near U.S. Highway 40 and Walton Creek Road were taken down to make room for a new senior residential campus being developed cooperatively by Pearl Senior Living and Yampa Valley Medical Center.
The hospital has created a nonprofit group, Colorado Senior Residences, with a community board to work with Pearl on the project.
Demolition debris was placed into the same shredder Rogue Resources has been using to break down slash piles left by removal of beetle-killed pine trees in the area. A conveyor belt delivered the chopped up lumber, drywall and insulation to a waiting Dumpster.
The new senior development would combine the skilled nursing rooms of the Doak Walker Care Center with independent senior living, assisted living and memory care services on one site. Before vertical construction could begin next year, the developers would have to obtain the necessary city permits. Charles Gee, a principal with Pearl, previously told the Steamboat Pilot & Today that site preparation and utility work is taking place this fall in anticipation that the buildings could be completed in one construction season beginning next year.
City of Steamboat Springs Historic Preservation Planner Alexis Casale said Tuesday that the developers had not applied for a demolition permit for a smaller, barn-shaped log shed farther east and closer to Walton Creek Road. The barn with its gambrel roof was used as a milking shed and is thought to be one of the two oldest structures on the site.
The city and its consultants, Cultural Resource Historians, completed a historical inventory of the site in 2009.
Land patent records show that Francis E. Milner originally homesteaded the property in June 1891.
Harriet Marie Kelly Sinden, author of “My Rocky Mountain Home,” was the source of much of the historical information on the property.
In the second decade of the 20th century, the Joe Blecha family began farming the land and might have built the dam that created Casey’s Pond, then know as Storm Mountain Lake or Storm Mountain Pond.
One of the homes was thought to have been built by 1938. Others were built, or agricultural buildings were converted, in the late 1950s to house construction workers on U.S. Highway 40 over Rabbit Ears Pass.
After Blecha’s death in 1961, the Casey family occupied the property and built and operated a gas station and small diner near the intersection of U.S. 40 and Walton Creek Road.
Blecha’s wife, Mary, died at the age of 100 in 1988 at a care center in Delta.
— To reach Tom Ross, call 871-4205 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org