The village of Redstone calls itself “the Ruby of the Rockies,” and the entire town has earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, with several of its buildings listed independently.
Redstone is somewhat isolated in the Elk Mountains of west-central Colorado, but it’s just 30 miles south of Glenwood Springs.
Redstone’s history began with John Cleveland Osgood, a coal baron who envisioned a coal-mining enterprise when he came to the area in the late 1800s after working in New York and Burlington, Iowa, and establishing the coal company that became part of Colorado Fuel & Iron, a Pueblo-based steel company known as CF&I.
In Redstone, Osgood built 84 cottages and an inn with 20 rooms to house his employees. The Redstone Inn is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is still in business.
Many of the cottages, described as Craftsman-era Swiss-style, still stand and are used as summer homes. The inn and cottages were the product of a “welfare capitalism” policy in which companies provided social-welfare programs to keep their workers happy and union-free.
Osgood also built the Crystal River Railroad and 249 beehive-shaped coke ovens. The miners worked and lived in Coal Town, eight miles away, and the railroad brought coal down to Redstone, where it was baked in the ovens, with the resulting coke then shipped to Pueblo to power the CF&I steel mills.
About 50 of the coke ovens are being stabilized, and four of them will be restored as part of the Redstone Coke Ovens Historic District.
The coal mines closed in 1909, and Osgood moved on. He came back in 1924 with his third wife, Lucille, but died before he could revive the town as a resort. The Depression put an end to Lucille’s efforts to run the inn as a hotel.
Perhaps the best-known building in Redstone is Cleveholm Manor, also known as the Redstone Castle. Osgood had built the 42-room Tudor mansion between 1897 and 1901 for his second wife. It had servants’ quarters, a gamekeeper’s lodge, a carriage house and a greenhouse.
The manor and the lodge are listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Osgood Castle and the Osgood Gamekeeper’s Lodge. Also listed as a historic building is the Osgood–Kuhnhausen House in Redstone, one of the historic cottages.
The castle is open for tours.
Population: 130 (2010 Census).
County: Pitkin County (Aspen is county seat)
Altitude: 7,400 feet above sea level.
Climate: Redstone is cold and snowy in the winter and stays cool but pleasant in the summer. Average snowfall ranges from 120 to 170 inches, with 245 sunny days a year. January’s average high is 33 degrees and average low 8; July’s average high is 77 and average low is 45. More weather >>