the Colaborative Inc

A.R. Smith Cabin

Client: Private Parties

Site: Aspen, Colorado

The A. R. Smith Cabin is located on the banks of the Roaring Fork River, outside of Aspen, Colorado on land not considered for development until the 1920s, when the enjoyment of outdoor life began to be seen as a desirable pursuit. The Collaborative was retained to prepare the nominations to the State and Local Registers of Historic Places, and provide preservation plans and design services. This vernacular wood frame cabin with random rubble foundation retained its historic integrity in that, both the structure, and the site remained as they were in the 1940s, retaining the original location, setting, design, and materials. Built in 1941 by Rev. A. R. Smith, a prominent Colorado pastor, who had come to Aspen between its days as a thriving mountain mining town and its transformation into a world-class ski resort, he sought to establish his land as a renowned Baptist boys camp. This idea was supported by some of Aspen’s leading residents, among who were organizers of the Aspen Park Association. The Association sold land to Smith and he began by constructing a cabin for use as his family residence. The A.R. Smith Cabin is a significant example for the type of architecture typically built around Aspen in the 1940s: using stone from the site for the foundation, and constructing the remainder of the cabin using basic wood framing skills. The structure is utilitarian with few frills or decorative features, but with everything needed for basic comfortable living.