Over the years at the Yellow House

Sidebar by Erik Moore

Local History – October 1997 – Colorado Central Magazine

The Yellow House, along with the partially restored Maysville schoolhouse, is one of the last standing reminders of the flash-in-the-pan existence which many before-the-turn-of-the-century mining camps experienced in Central Colorado.

The name Maysville was in honor of the hometown in Kentucky whence came Gen. William Marshall, the discoverer of Marshall Pass.

In just a little more than four years, from 1879 to 1883, Maysville went from Amasa Feather’s ranch (bought for $75 and a sewing machine) to the fastest growing camp in the district, with a population of about 1,000 souls. Within the first few months of its short active life, it boasted a bank, a lumberyard, two hotels, two smelters, numerous stores, and saloons. It produced two newspapers, the South Arkansas Miner and the Maysville Chronicle.

It was the starting point of the Monarch Pass Toll Road, leading through Arbourville, Garfield, and Chaffee City, over Old Old Monarch Pass into the Tomichi Mining District.

In 1883 the rail spur from Maysville to the Madonna Mine above Garfield was completed, and that signaled the end of prosperity for Maysville.

Ebenezer Chapin, a Civil War veteran, and his wife, Maria, were among the first residents. He ran “Chapin & Ronk Staple and Fancy Grocery” in 1881. They also had a dairy and the biggest herd of cattle in Maysville.

Nancy E. (Nannie) Chapin, wife of Ebenezer’s son Oscar Chapin, bought the land where the Yellow House stands on July 10, 1893, from Capt. A.W. Harrington, a local rancher and former Texas steamboat captain.

Her husband, Oscar, built the Yellow House in 1900. He left Nannie for greener pastures in California and died there in 1910. Their granddaughter, Mrs. Bob Wiley, still lives in Salida.

The family lived in the house for many years, and some stories have it that the Yellow House was rented out as a boarding house in the 1920’s and 30’s, serving railroad workers and diehard small-town miners.

Harry and Theresa Miller bought the property in 1940. He had come to the area in 1933 after working as a painter in Portland, Oregon.

He worked several years as a school bus driver in the Maysville and Piñon Grove area. He and Theresa operated the Wild Wood Court, a series of tourist cabins next to the North Fork.

Theresa died in 1965, and Harry hung on until September 1976, when Kenneth Poteet found him dead along the railroad tracks near the house.

The Yellow House languished until 1981 when the old townsite was replatted. Scott and Wylie Doughty of Aspen put down a well and laid in a septic system, did some tear-out work, and then gave up without ever activating the well or living in the house.

Erik and Cheri Moore bought the Yellow House in January of 1988, restored it, and have lived there since 1991.

Many thanks to Donna Nevens, the women at the Chaffee County Courthouse, Mrs. Bob Wylie of Salida, her brother Mr. Fred Freeland of Englewood, Colo., and the Salida Regional Library for their help in gathering and verifying this information.

If anyone knows what Harry Miller did with the “Maysville Minutes,” or if you know of any photographs or other information concerning the Yellow House, or have any corrections or amplification of this information, we would be most grateful to hear of it.

–E.M.