Historic Columbine Cabins in North Routt sell for $850,000
Columbine — The historic 1800s gold-mining camp turned rustic lodging known as Columbine Cabins sold last week for $850,000 to a couple that plans to continue running the business as it is today.
Longtime owners Jan Dierks and husband, Lyman Fletcher, had placed the property on the market about four years ago for $1.95 million but gradually dropped the asking price until they’d found market value and a buyer ready to take over operations, Dierks said.
For the price, buyers Tammy and Todd Zvorak, who purchased the property as Master Key Adventures LLC, are getting 35 acres of aspen forest, 14 unique guest cabins, a general store and several other outbuildings at the base of Hahn’s Peak, about 29 miles from Steamboat Springs.
The buyers also inherit a popular year-round lodging business, passed from Dierks’ sister, who purchased it in 1980, to the most recent owners in 1993.
“We are excited about this new adventure,” said Todd Zvorak, who is retiring after a 27-year career in the Navy, most recently in Hawaii, to begin running the business with his wife.
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Zvorak said the couple was attracted to the property’s unique charm and are looking forward to interacting with the local community and guests from out of the area.
“It was appealing to many, many people, and still is,” said Darrin Fryer, a broker with Steamboat Sotheby’s International Realty who represented both parties in the transaction. “It’s a romantic setting.”
Established as the Columbine Mining Camp and an 11-acre townsite in the 1890s, gold prospectors visited the town’s Minnie D. and Master Key mines, among others, searching for high-grade gold ore.
Later, loggers and freight drivers working between Wyoming and Colorado would stop by for meals and rest, as would cattlemen and sheep ranchers.
The property’s rich history is acknowledged with a listing in the Routt County and the national registers of historic places.
Fryer said that while the listing’s amenities and historical significance were appealing to many, the property required a unique buyer willing to perform upkeep of the aging establishment.
“It has so much ongoing maintenance and work to preserve it,” Fryer said. “The more infrastructure there is, it actually becomes a little bit of an encumbrance to maintain. That affects the price.”
Despite maintenance, the property has a lot to offer a buyer, said Fryer, who is a regular summer guest at the cabins.
“You can live amongst these incredible cabins in a rustic neighborhood from another era,” Fryer said. “It’s a pretty epic sort of dream.”
Fryer added that while the sellers had closed down the Columbine Cabins over the most recent winter, the new owners plan to keep the business open year-round.
Dierks and Fletcher will continue running the business through this summer, before fully passing operations onto the new owners. The retiring couple plans to move back to Santa Cruz, California, during winters, but Dierks admitted that summers in Colorado would be hard to leave behind.
The Zvoraks will eventually transition the name of the property to The Cabins at Historic Columbine and allow for web-based reservations via http://www.historiccolumbine.com.
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