WALDEN, Colo. — A 90-year-old log home and eight outbuildings of the forest management complex at the Colorado State Forest east of Walden — most handcrafted in the late 1920s from the area’s native spruce and pine trees — have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The National Park Service’s register is the official federal list of districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects significant in American history, architecture and culture.
This recognition is the culmination of several years of effort by a number of Colorado State Forest Service employees, past and present.
“The old log buildings seem little changed from the yellowed photographs we have of the place,” said John Twitchell, district forester of the CSFS Steamboat Springs District, who spent years working and living with his family at the State Forest.
“The tools and artifacts of a bygone era share space in the shop with our modern implements and serve as a reminder of the proud legacy of forestry we are privileged to carry forward.”
The Colorado State Forest Building Complex has been managed by the CSFS on behalf of the Colorado State Land Board for the past three decades.
It consists of twelve buildings, with the nine “rustic and pioneer log style” buildings contributing to the designation being built between 1927 and the 1940s using logs from the surrounding forest. A log garage/office was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), and other historical buildings include a cabin, main house, horse barn, outhouse and crew cabin.
The National Register is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate and protect historic and archeological resources. The National Park Service provides overall program administration, while the Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation in History Colorado administers the register in Colorado.
Today, the historical complex continues to serve as the CSFS forest management headquarters for the State Forest. Current State Forest Manager Russ Gross says it’s not just some of the buildings there that haven’t changed over time. Much of the area still remains relatively wild and untamed.
“I’ve had moose at the front door and, less happily, pine martens in the kitchen,” he said. “It’s a beautiful place to live if you’re a forester.”