1910 Owen House - Image from 1923 in Grand Lake, Colorado
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Welcome to www.owenhouse.org, the official web page for the historic 1910 Owen House situated in the Town of Grand Lake, Colorado. The1910 Owen House has been a fixture on the landscape of Grand Lake, Colorado since it was built by "Mr. Henry Schnoor" an early Grand Lake builder. Based on the early historic photographs we have been able to assemble, we believe this was one of the first homes marketed as a second home to out of town visitors. Plus we feel certain it was the first  Vacation Home built on the North Shore."Mr. Schnoor" arrived into Grand County when he purchased the "Green Mountain Ranch" (now in the RMNP) in 1897 and resided in Grand Lake until his death in 1943. This website has been created to share this beautiful home and its unique history, plus we hope to raise some funds for the continued maintenance, preservation, and required renovation of this historic landmark.

As we update this site in April of 2015, it would appear that much of the early history we have been told about this home is NOT accurate. To begin, "Mr. Henry Schnoor" was a local builder, and seems to have been the first to purchase land from the original developer of the Sunny-Side Addition; "Mr. Chester W. Chapin, Jr.".  "Mr. Chapin" purchased several tracts on the north shore of Grand Lake, combined them and platted the land to create the Sunny Side Addition Subdivision. While he never spent much time in Grand Lake,  "Mr. Chapin" was a successful urban entrepreneur from New York City, the son of a US Congressman from Massachusetts, a real estate speculator, plus steamship and railroad baron who developed this land to maximize his profits by capitalizing on the number of waterfront lots platted.  "Mr. Chapin" had a great love of the outdoors, was a crack shot, helped win the America's Cup in 1893; and he was responsible for developing 18,000 acres of land in the Catskill Mountains of New York.

"Mr. Chapin" hired local resident, "Jake Pettingell", who was appointed as authorized attorney in fact to develop anPicture of Henry Schnoord sell this subdivision on behalf of "Mr. Chapin". We are working to confirm this, but it is our belief that this may have been the first lot sold or first "block of lots" sold out of this new subdivision.  Owenhouse.org sits on the southern end of LOT 7 & and small sliver of LOT 6, but does not occupy one entire lot. We have also speculated that "Mr. Schnoor" originally purchased "Lots 4-7", built this house to sell, then used the profits to build the rental cabins that surround us (now called Grand Escape Cottages).  Whatever turns out to be true, it would seem that our home was created by "Mr. Schnoor" as a business/real estate investment.  We are now almost certain that this home was built in 1910, the same year the subdivision was "Platted and Recorded".  We hope to complete some more research next week when in Colorado.  So we believe Mr. Schnoor lived in the home for a bit, before selling it, as the first document that lists this home in the Grand County Clerk's Real Property Records, is a deed recorded February of 1921, conveying the title from Henry & Carrie D. Schnoor to J. M. Owen of Oklahoma.

The 1910 Owen House / Owenhouse.org is perched on a ridge at the eastern end of the Grand Avenue boardwalk with an address of 406 Hancock. This home overlooks the town and the lake; it has magnificent views from atop of this glacial moraine, it was built using local lodge pole pine logs with willow chincking, and it features a large front porch overlooking Grand Lake.  This home remains very much as it did when it was built, except there is no longer an open deck on the south side (lake side) and all the pine trees have been removed due to beetle kill.  However, one day soon, we hope to rebuild the open deck and we have begun planting some new pine trees.  The construction style utilized by "Mr. Schnoor" was an obscure construction technique Example of "Mitered Lap Notch"

called "Mitered Lap Notch" that previously had been used on detail work like porch rails.  However, the wall construction examples in Grand Lake using this technique have stood the test of time.  It would seem that a "local cluster" of "Mitered Lap Notch" homes were built in Grand Lake. Apparently this style met the builder’s need to create and use a notch technique with the appearance of hand-hewn joinery. Each example is associated with the tourist industry, suggesting that there was a demand for a strong "rustic accent", even though none of the homes built in this style, meet the official criteria to be classified as a "Rustic". The "Mitered Lap Notch" can be best described as, using logs with the bark left on, cutting square joints that are easily duplicated, then combining the use of rustic decorations and adornments, such as two story screened porches with twig and stick trim.  This home was built with natural pine wood finish all through the interior, it included an indoor bathroom with toilet, an original "extra large" cast-iron claw-footed bathtub, a large stone fireplace, a wood burning stove in the kitchen, and many sliding six pane windows; hence it was a built as a custom summer home and was never considered "Rustic", even though architecturally it has that appearance.

This home has belonged to a number of people prior to 1967, but that summer Nelson C. Owen and wife Virginia B. Owen decided they should sell.  As it turned out, some long time fans of "summering" in Grand Lake, Seth W. Dorbandt a banker from Texas and his wife Helen,Photo of an old sign of Brownhurst Cottages

were again staying in the rental cabins (Grand Escape Cottages, then called the Brownhurst Cottages) with their grown daughters and their respective families. Seth and Helen had always admired the 1910 Owen House and commented every year, that if that home was ever up for sale, they would be interested in purchasing it. In the summer of 1967, their 35th summer in Grand Lake, one of Seth & Helen's daughters noticed a REALTOR® placing a "FOR SALE" sign on the house. She ran over, immediately removed the sign and took it back to show her mother and father. A few phone calls were placed in which the Dorbandts negotiated a verbal agreement to purchase the home from the Owens. The following day, Seth and Helen woke up early, drove to Denver, took a plane to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to meet the Owens. Once there they finialized the purchase of this home complete with all the furnishings and contents. Seth & Helen returned to Grand Lake the following day and their family has been enjoying this historic home ever since.

It had been Helen with her brothers and parents, that discovered Grand Lake in the early 1920s, when they just happened to stop over while traveling on vacation from their home in Conroe, Texas on a journey to YelloFamily photo of Grand Lake from the 1930s

wstone National Park. After spending time in Yellowstone, the entire family was still so impressed by Grand Lake and the Rocky Mountain National Park, that they made an effort on the return trip to stop again. This chance discovery resulted in Helen and her family, falling in love with this area to a point that they began to return each summer thereafter. Helen's love for the area remained so strong, that once married she quickly introduced her husband Seth to the Village of Grand Lake. Together they continued the tradition started by Helen's parents, of traveling with the family to "summer" in the Rocky Mountains on the north shore of Grand Lake. As a result, there have been six generations of Helen's family that have enjoyed the sites, sounds, and activities offered here in Grand Lake, Colorado!

As time moves forward, Helen passed away in 1986, and Seth at almost 102, passed away in 2012.  The home is now owned by Helen and Seth's two oldest male grandchildren.  Seth's last visit was in October of 2007 to see the aspen change color; this was seventy-plus (70+) years after his wife first introduced him to the area. Seth met and knew every owner of the Grand Escape Cottages from the Schnoors through the Goodfellows.

Therefore, this has always been owned as a "summer getaway" and a vacation home. It has always been, and remains, privately owned. As a result, the inside and the history of the home remain an enigma to even long time Grand Lake residents, as this home has never been opened to the public. After visiting the Kauffman House Museum a few summers ago, it became apparent to the family of Owenhouse.org that many of the original items that furnish our home and are still being used daily; are similar to the ones on display behind the velvet ropes at the Kauffman House Museum.

At this point, a business model is being considered that would open this home to a limited few, would maybe permit a few small events. Consideration is being given to holding a raffle or maybe an auction for the "Friends of the 1910 Owen House", that would include a reserved parking spot, all meals on the 4th ( breakfast, lunch, wild game dinner) beer, wine, soda, special host spirits, three nights at the house including Independence Day (arrive after 4pm on July 3rd, leave by 1p on July 6th). As a guest of the owners, it will include not having to fight traffic, food, drink, and a front row view of the "Largest Fireworks display west of the Continental Divide in Colorado"! We would appreciate any feedback on this subject.

Thank you for stopping by! We hope to update the information soon, and will provide greater details on our plans shortly. We will post complete history of the house, including pictures through the years, the floor plan, a virtual tour, and specialty items; including shirts, hats, photographs, paintings, and other items in support of this historic location. In the mean time, should you have questions, please direct inquiries to host@owenhouse.org!

CREDIT: Credit on the historical building perspectives must be given to "Susan L. Quinnell".  It was only as a result of her efforts that Grand Lake today enjoys the Historic Kauffman House Walking Tour. Ms. Quinnell, while studying at Colorado State University, wrote a thesis as part of the work she did while working toward her master's, titled BUILDING WITH LOGS IN NORTHERN COLORADO: 1870 – 1950. Her writing addresses the log buildings associated with the historic tourist, logging, railroad and ranching industries in Grand and Jackson counties in northern Colorado.

This picture was taken of Grand Lake, Colorado, sometime around 1911, you can see how much things have changed!
Please note how this house is the only building still standing in 2014!

Early photograph of Grand Lake that includes the historic 1910 Owen House
The 1910 Owen House is #3 stop on the Kauffman House Walking Tour - Main Beach Loop.
The Grand Lake Area Historical Society created this historical walk.
Their guide used to be available for sale for $5.00 in the Grand Lake Area Historical Society: Kauffman House Museum.
1910 Owen House - Historical Marker
Kauffman House Historical Walking Tour Guide Cover
This house remains a fixture over the decades!

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