Zupancis-McMurchy Buildings Relocating to Holden Marolt


Zupancis-McMurchy Buildings Relocating to Holden Marolt
Wide Load on Highway 82 on Friday, December 9 in Early Morning

Aspen, Colorado – December 7, 2016 – As the City of Aspen prepares the property at 540 E. Main Street for construction for the new Aspen Police Department, three historic structures will be moved from the site to the Aspen Historical Society’s Holden Marolt Mining and Ranching Museum in order to keep these buildings accessible to the public.  Using the house for museum purposes was determined to be the best way to preserve the unique historic interior as renovating the structure for current building code standards would not have preserved its historic features.

The buildings being moved include a historic house, shed, and barn.  Two of the structures will be transported to the Historical Society’s property on Friday, December 9.  Expect to see wide loads on Main Street from 12am to 4am.  The remaining structure will likely be moved in the next week.

The decision to move these structures was reviewed and approved by HPC, P & Z, and City Council. The house and shed date back to 1885 and the barn dates to 1938.  Once relocated, they will be protected and stored at the Museum and will be placed on permanent foundations in the spring.  The City and Historical Society are working on restoration plans for the interior and exterior of all three buildings.

The City bought the lots and associated structures from the Zupancis family in 2002 and is believed to be the fourth owner of the property.


The Historic Structures
The home on this site was built in at least three phases, beginning in approximately 1885.  The original structure was a log cabin, approximately 13’ wide and 16’ deep; 200 square feet.  The owner associated with the property through at least 1896 was William McMurchy, described as a prospector in the book Aspen, The Quiet Years.  McMurchy owned several mining claims and an insurance business.  The size of the McMurchy property was substantial and it was used for agriculture.  An 1885 notice in the Aspen Times indicated that on April 7th, 1885, “200,000 cabbage and 5,000 cauliflower plants will be available at McMurchy’s place, at the foot of Hunter Street.”  

By 1890, McMurchy expanded his home by about 700 square feet, to the size that exists today (minus a small addition in the northeast corner with an unknown date of construction.)  The additions to the house were frame construction and sided with clapboards.  The house featured a decorative front porch, detailed doors and screen doors, but was otherwise very simple in character.  The photo below is dated 1939.  During McMurchy’s ownership, there were outbuildings behind the house, one of which is still standing.  

At least two other owners are believed to have been involved in the property before it was purchased by the Zupancis family in 1930, according to title information.  At some point, the clapboards were removed from the log cabin and much of the house was re-sided with board and batten.

Posted on Wednesday, December 07, 2016