First Visit
My first visit to Crested Butte was in 1957 when Mom and Dad and I and my two brothers visited for a two week summer vacation after a long drive from our home in Maryland. My Dad wanted Mom and his three sons to see where he had grown up, in the 1930's.

The family had moved to Crested Butte from West Virginia -- a consequence of the Great Depression. In the 1930's Dad lived in Crested Butte and then later went to school full-time at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Here is a picture taken in 1930 (it's a hand colored print) of the Town of Crested Butte showing the Superintendent's house, the depot, and some other still-surviving landmarks.

Whenever Dad visited his parents and his four younger sisters (my four aunts) he stayed in the family home, the mine superintendent's house up on "big mine hill" (it's now been moved to Town, on Maroon). My grandfather, E. Frank "Pop" Miller and his wife "Bebe" (as the family nicknamed her) had moved their entire family to Crested Butte in the early 1930's. Pop managed the CF&I Big Mine in Crested Butte through the first years of the Great Depression. As a mining technologist he accounted for most of modernizations that kept the Big Mine so highly productive all the way through and after World War II.

In 1957, after the Big Mine had been closed for several years and they had already pulled the rails of the narrow gage D&RGW for scrap metal, Crested Butte had a population of about 50. Pretty much Elk Avenue was it! The main restaurant in town was Frank and Gal's -- it's the second building from the left in the picture -- which had been there at least since my Dad's childhood. And I remember well the big family dinner there that summer -- we five Millers plus Rudy and Emmy Sedmak and their daughter, MaryJo. The spaghetti really was very good. I think, also, it might perhaps have been the only thing on the menu. In any case, it was really good!

The 1960's And Beyond
The next time I was in Crested Butte was on my way from New Jersey to California in a job change in 1969. That August when I drove down the dusty half-paved street called Elk Avenue and parked in front of The Company Store I found that a bar called "The Tailings" in the basement that served beer and I do remember that beer -- it was a Coors 3.2%, of course -- tasted pretty darn good on that hot afternoon. Sitting on the bench sipping my beer I was confronted with a black-shirted, black-hatted man in black cowboy boots who was carrying two six-guns, a shotgun, and a shiny Marshall's badge. "Are you staying in town long?" he asked. That was "Donner" -- a local crazy -- acting the part.

That visit lasted about a week, and of course by 1969 the Ski Area had opened, and there was a lot going on in town.

Our family friend Rudy Sedmak connected me with a lady in Kansas who wanted to sell her town lots and I bought them with pretty much the last penny of my savings. It was natural enough after all: I had grown up hearing about how wonderful Crested Butte was and here was a chance to own a piece of it!

After many trips to Crested Butte to ski the following three winters, and just to visit in the summers, and after getting to know the town fairly very well, I thought I might want to have some kind of foothold in Crested Butte. But it was not that easy. For example, to take a specific opportunity: after very careful thought I decided that while it was a nice offer that George Sibley made to me to purchase and run his Crested Butte Chronicle -- George wanted to sell because he wanted to write a book -- somehow that just wasn't going to work out for me if I was to continue my own technical work for the Government. So I had to opt out of that one. As it turned out Myles Arber, a friend of a friend of mine from New York, bought it and did a great job with it -- better than I ever would have! George did write the book, about summering and wintering over in Gothic, and now he teaches at Western State in Gunnison.

Construction in the 1970's
Those visits were just enough time for Crested Butte to work its magic -- I was genuinely smitten. The Savings and Loan in Gunnison found the money, the contractor drew a quick 2-page sketch, the town building inspector and zoning enforcer (and next-door neighbor) Rudy Sedmak nodded his OK and personally hammered in the stakes setting out the building foundation, and 624 Maroon was built in the summer and fall of 1972. Here's an aerial shot of Crested Butte in 1974 that shows what it was like in that era, a couple of years after the house was built (you can see the house in the photo).

My parents were going to be visiting that Christmas and I know they were excited -- Dad especially so -- that the family after all those years finally "had a place" in Crested Butte.

But that was not to be. Sadly, my Mother died unexpectedly in early November that year. Even though the house was finished just days before Christmas, she never got to see it.

From then through 1993 we all visited Crested Butte two or three times a year. I ran some technical conferences and software technology seminars there, and I got to know many of the townspeople. I especially enjoyed the time I spent with the "old timers" -- men who had worked for my grandfather at the mine (my grandfather died when I was barely 12 so I was finally getting to know him). They told a lot of stories about him, about the town, and about the tough times -- and probably some of there were true at least in part. But they all agreed that Pop was a good man, a fair man, a good manager, but that "...he couldn't hold his liquor," according at least to Tim Morgan [with several others corroborating].

The 1990's And 2000's
After twenty years as a part time rental unit, and later with a full-time caretaker, it was time for change. My wife Rita supervised the remodeling in 1992-1993, and the re-remodeling in 1998. From the original dark-stained natural wood and dark drapes and heavy fixtures, the house became filled with bright light and open space -- in a Mediteranean/European style that emphasizes simplicity, comfort, and flexibility. After all, Crested Butte is at Latitude 38º North -- so it has the the same sun angles as in Lisbon, Portugal, in Messina, Sicily, and in San Francisco, California, our long-time residence!

Rita and I and our daughters and sons-in-law and grandchildren have enjoyed staying at 624 Maroon regularly. It is always relaxing and invigorating and entertaining to spend time in so enthralling a place. The skiing is good and the hiking and wildflowers are great!

2010 to 2020
However, in the years since 2010, Crested Butte has changed and much of the small-frontier-town mentality has melted away. The old-timers and anyone speaking Croatian have passed on or moved away. Instead, Crested Butte has become an efficiently managed "vacation machine" of quite a high level of sophistication and significant profitabilithy. The "resort mentality" seems to prevail.

In September 2020 we sold our long-time home in Crested Butte. But our hearts remain there!

-- Edward & Rita