Local artist plans to save historic Workman house on Yampa Street

Scott Franz

— After a piece of paper with her name on it was pulled out of a basket at City Hall last month, Kelley Conner was the proud new owner of a 101-year-old home on Yampa Street.

Now, the local sculptor and painter is preparing to move the historic Workman house to an empty lot she owns north of Oak Creek and live in it with her three teenage boys.

“I’m a single mom, and it’s hard to get a loan for a major purchase of a house here, so this worked out really well for me,” Conner said. “This is just a one-of-a-kind, unique property that can be enjoyed by me and my boys. The house has had a rich history, and I hope to continue with that.”

The city recently purchased the Workman property from Leland and Linda Workman for $610,000.

The home needs to be moved from Yampa Street by June 30 so the riverside property can be converted into a public park.

So, the city offered the old home up for free to anyone who would pay to move it.

Conner was one of five community members who stepped forward to save the house from demolition.

The house was deemed to be asbestos-free and structurally sound.

Three of the five bidders for the home eventually withdrew, so Conner and another couple, who were also wanting to live in the house, had their names placed in a basket for a lottery drawing.

Longtime City Hall receptionist Kim White had the honor of drawing the winner of the city’s first historic home lottery.

The city is now poised to avoid demolition costs, and Conner, who hosts painting parties and teaches plein air painting through her business, Artys, has a new home.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge of getting it onto my property,” Conner said. “Nothing short of a miracle will get it there.”

Conner has enlisted the help of a Front Range structural moving company to carefully transport the house to its new home.

The company recently drove the 15- to 16-mile route to ensure it would be possible to move the 1,512-square-foot single-family home.

A lot of permits are needed, and there will be at least 34 electric lines that will need to be moved temporarily so that the house can get by, Conner said.

“The move itself is going to cost around $50,000. Then you’ve got to do the excavation and put the foundation in, and install the septic system and water tank,” Conner said. “I can see the beauty in just moving into a condo, but this has been a great learning experience for me.”

The Workman home has served as a rare, century-old window into Yampa Street’s quieter past.

Before it was surrounded by a mix of popular bars and restaurants, the home was surrounded by a chicken house, corral, outhouse and small barn.

Leland Workman is happy the home his family members have lived in for many decades won’t be demolished.

“It’s fantastic. What else can I say?,” Workman said. “I think it’s good the city offered it for repurposing, and someone took advantage of it.”

Workman said he Googled the address where the home is going to be taken and made an interesting discovery.

The old Workman house will be less than two miles from where Leland’s mother, Lorene Workman, was born.

Lorene Workman was a professional cook who baked wedding, birthday and special occasion cakes for several generations of families in Steamboat.

She also worked as a lunch-room supervisor for the Steamboat Springs school system for 20 years.

“My mother lived in that house for 70 years, and it’s going back to the neighborhood she was born in,” Workman said. “I thought that was kind of interesting.”

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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