April and Steve Carver are also behind the renovation of the stunning Denver Hotel in Glenwood Springs, where they have used renovation techniques over the years to transform one of Colorado’s most iconic buildings.
For years, April and Steve Carver passed by this riverside village and admired the famous redstone castle from afar. He spent decades restoring its historic splendor to the Denver Hotel in Glenwood Springs, but the castle appears to have fallen out of use.
“And then we saw it sell for $6 million and said, ‘No, that’s something we can’t afford,'” Steve said. “Then we saw it sold for $4 million and said no, nothing. Then we got a card in the mail saying there would be an auction for at least $2 million.
The couple – an accountant and a historian – won Redstone Castle at auction in October 2016, spending more than $2 million on the mansion the coal mogul built between 1899 and 1902.
It’s a heist, but Carvers’s costly journey has only just begun.
Drawing on 27 years of experience renovating hotels in Denver, Carvers began a major renovation at Red Rock Castle, spending more than its purchase price to restore one of Colorado’s historic gems.
If you ask anyone to excavate a centuries old house, most will regret it. This is one of the longer recovery periods. But it’s even worse for Carvers, who have dealt with the property with about 10 previous owners, who have sometimes carried out renovations. This is because the federal government has imposed a conservation measure on this part of the property. That’s because local land use regulations prohibit activities that help offset repair costs.
– Yeah, we’ll do it again, but…
However, Carvers doesn’t regret the castle’s revival. “Yeah, we do it again, but sometimes I say no,” April said.
Red Rock Castle is one of the most beautiful structures in Colorado. Coal magnate John Osgood spent more than $2 million to build this 42-room Tudor mansion as his winter home on 150 acres. Osgood spent a lot of money on a vacant lot overlooking a village built as a shelter for miners.
French silk wallpaper in the music room; the blue Hispanic leather on the library walls looks like the inside of a railroad car; a handmade Honduran and Russian red velvet mahogany table on the kitchen wall; to the mirror.
Imported Italian marble – not the now-popular Colorado Christmas marble, no, from a quarry down the street that Osgood also owns – surrounds each of the 14 fireplaces. The vaulted ceiling was covered with aluminum, a material more precious than gold in the 1900s.
Each room is decorated with Tiffany & Co. lamps, candles and chandeliers.
A hydroelectric dam was built on the banks of the Crystal River that powered the castle during a power outage in New York. Osgood also built a large dog tank, kennel, carriage garage and fenced in elk, deer, and bighorn sheep.
A monument of the Gilded Age, the castle was home to the likes of John D. Rockefeller and Teddy Roosevelt in its heyday. Modern-day superstars attended, including Jimmy Buffett, who was married at the castle in 1977 when the Eagles played on the lawn.
The fort was owned by Ken Johnson, owner of the Grand Junction Sentinel newspaper in the 1980s and 1990s. Johnson invested heavily in this property, turning it into a 16-star bed and breakfast. Room with a commercial kitchen. Johnson still appreciates the castle and sold the property when a buyer stumbled upon it – in fact, he sold it several times in the 1990s.
After Carvers took over, they assumed responsibility for keeping the fort. (The castle is in Pitkin County, where $2 million could co-own a 1980s apartment in Snowmass Village or an apartment in Aspen.)
Courtesy of the Redstone Historical Society, the residence is one of the few in the country to have a Federal Historic Preservation Facility that extends not only to the exterior and grounds, but to the interior as well.
These amenities are the jewel in the crown of the historic community. The key was seized by the IRS in 2003 during an investigation into the international pyramid scheme run by Norman Schmidt, a Denver man who was eventually sentenced to 330 years in prison. The castle was put up for auction as the agency and the Securities and Exchange Commission tried to pay around 1,000 investors $50 million with the promise of a 400% return. The Historical Society, along with state and federal conservation groups, convinced the IRS to engage in a large tract of land to protect not only the exterior of the castle and its 23-acre grounds, but also many The main room of the castle is on the first floor.
Rally Dimitrius won the auction in 2005 and paid the IRS $4 million. Although the California businessman needs federal approval to make most changes to the property and sell furniture, Demetrius operates the castle as a bed and breakfast with minimal investment. . In 2015, his children put the lock up for sale for $7.5 million.
Conservation agencies have done their job
These conservation gadgets may have deterred many from buying. That’s the point.
“The Redstone Historical Association was able to convince the IRS in 2005 that it was obligated to review the historical value of the property being sold,” said Darrell Munsell, a Redstone resident and former history professor and president of the association. said at the time. . “We know that placing conservation privileges on properties reduces the value and value of the property. But we see something else. We think the privileges discourage some homeowners. not interested in preserving history. Carver sees that as an advantage.”
Historians and residents of Redstone fear that this time the castle will be sold to a wealthy buyer who will use the property as a residence and close it to the public. For decades, the castle has remained open to the public, offering the chance to see, touch, and feel history.
Since Carvers opened the castle last fall, they have organized hundreds of tours.
“Students who visit the site get a sense and appreciation of history that they don’t get from textbooks or other methods,” says Munsell. and call them “White Knight buyers”.
Debbie Strom, also a member of the Historical Society, worked after the castle was confiscated by the IRS and opened the nearby Redstone Inn in the 1990s. Johnson owns the castle, while Redstone owns about 30 stores and six restaurants. Currently, the sleepy village has two restaurants and about half a dozen shops. Strom said that by restoring the castle and welcoming visitors, Redstone hopes to attract more of the economy.
“The carvers’ dream is more than fulfillment,” he said. “Without this amazing building, Redstone would be a ghost town. We don’t want someone to compete with Ken Johnson, but what we got was even better. I remember the last time Ken sold. it, the lawyer told him that Ken didn’t sell”. exist. There’s a longer t-shirt thrown in there.”
The carvers respect the castle’s history, as evidenced by their careful restoration. When he took office, the house had three bathrooms. They renovated 17 bathrooms and created 11 suites in the 23,000-square-foot mansion, 10 of which are for guests. The Carvers applied for a historic grant and received federal and state historic tax credits to restore every inch of the castle, including restoring water-damaged ceilings. from 1901 of the library.
“Credit is very important. It’s huge,” Steve said. “We hope legislators recognize the importance of these tax credits in protecting historic properties like this.”
The carvers also wanted to build a model that could protect the castle.
“Our goal is self-sustaining, so we don’t have to go through this process every 20, 30, 40 years,” April said.
The Carvers, based on the castle’s role in the market, currently sets a seasonal nightly rate of around $300 in the winter. They welcome overnight guests, but prefer to rent out the entire property for events like weddings and birthdays.
The couple spent two years working in Pitkin County applying for permits for large gatherings, which required changes to land use regulations that would allow for more large events each year. Carveres attended at least a dozen public meetings with Crystal River Valley residents, area planners and commissioners to develop a plan that would allow the couple to host 60 events a year, 20 events of which can attract more than 100 guests.
“We spent a lot of time — a very expensive and tedious process — figuring out what the county really wanted, what we wanted, and what the neighbors wanted,” Steve said.
April: “We asked a lot, everyone gave a lot. “Many people here want the best for the castle and we have many supporters at every gathering.”
The couple purchased the Denver hotel in 1991 and quickly began renovating all the rooms. They tore up the carpet, Formica and polished bronze and restored its historic splendor to the hotel. This experience brought him to Redstone Castle.
“I saw my wife make a purse out of pig ears, you know. Look at hotel rooms in Denver – she makes every room a beautiful place, and we’re the best boutique hotel in Glenwood . I know it. I ‘I’m going to do something great. , it’s very special here,'” Steve said during a tour of Redstone Castle. “They do it. It’s not outrageous, it’s respectful of history. It’s authentic.”