Brooklyn home 1st to make city historic register
When Kate and Craig Rench first contemplated seeking historic designation for their home in Brooklyn, their friends cautioned them against taking the step.
Now that their 1930s vernacular style home has been added to the Steamboat Springs Register of Historic Places, they find it’s a plus on two levels.
The homeowners take pride in preserving their modest home, but they also obtained a bonus of additional square feet on the second-story bedroom addition that kicked off the whole process.
“We were excited when we heard our house had some historical value and that it will be preserved as an active example of the community we live in,” Craig Rench said.
For historical purposes, the house at 270 River Road is known as the Savage House after the original owner, Erastus “Doc” Savage.
The Brooklyn neighborhood is recognized as having been originally built between 1902 and 1914, as a separate town from Steamboat Springs and with a very specific purpose in mind. The original town of Steamboat Springs was created as a dry community. Brooklyn was the local venue for saloons, pool houses and a red light district.
Only one structure from that era remains in Brooklyn. The Savage House was built decades after statewide prohibition in 1916 brought an abrupt halt to illicit commerce in the little community across the river from Steamboat Springs proper.
However, the Renchs’ home is the best remaining example of a wood frame home of its type in Brooklyn, historic preservation planner Alexis Casale said.
The historic registration process began when Kate and Craig Rench applied for a building permit and consequently were contacted by members of the city’s Historic Preservation Program about opportunities for tax credits that come with voluntary historic designation. The city passed a new historic preservation ordinance in February and hired a consultant to inventory eligible properties in the city.
Friends warned the Renchs that if they accepted historic designation, they would be limited in what they could do with their property.
However, Kate Rench said through the historic process, they were able to obtain a variance allowing them to build a second gable on the home instead of the single gable that they might have settled for.
“We decided it was to our benefit,” she said. “The committee members asked us why we were building a dormer on only one side of the house.”
Bottom line: They were able to add a walk-in closet and master bath to the upstairs bedroom.
“Right now, we don’t have any closets in this house,” Rench said.
The new dormers, when complete, will add five feet to each side of the upper floor of the 1,200-plus square-foot house.
Casale said the process was aided by the fact that the dormers, which opened up the second story ceiling of the home, are consistent with the vernacular style that is prevalent in Steamboat’s oldest neighborhoods.
Also among the first three additions to Steamboat’s new historic register are Howelsen Hill and Lithia Spring. Historic Preservation staff assistant Ginger Scott said several more city-owned properties are on the agenda for consideration by the preservation committee at its next meeting. They include the Rehder/First National Bank building, Carver Power Plant and Carver House.
Participation in the city’s historic register is voluntary for residential property owners. Scott said postcards would be mailed to owners of homes found to be eligible by the consultant, inviting them to an informational meeting from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. May 27 at Centennial Hall on 10th Street.
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