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Crested Butte looks to save sheds and outhouses

Brief by Allen Best

History – January 2009 – Colorado Central Magazine

Part of the charm of Crested Butte is its gaily painted Victorian storefronts. But that’s the show-business part. To get a better sense of Crested Butte’s grimy past you need to walk the alleyways and visit the empty lots, where a great many coal bins, privies, and sheds, many of them graying and rotting, can be seen.

To ensure that manifestations of yesteryear remain, the town is looking at incentives and penalties for property owners. The goal is to make sure efforts are made to keep old buildings standing so they aren’t deliberately torn down.

“I think one of the things about Crested Butte that’s special is the outbuildings,” building official Bob Gillie recently told the town council. “Those buildings, like the coal sheds, say a lot about the history of Crested Butte.”

Council members, reports theCrested Butte News, are leery of over-reaching in their efforts to preserve the past. But they are also reminded that some other communities, such as Telluride, now wish more relics of the past had been preserved, and are keen on applying those lessons to Crested Butte.

We note with pleasure that both Salida and Leadville appear to have maintained the historic character of their alleys.