SILT — Chris Classen is not only interested in the history of the town of Silt, he lives in it.
Classen’s home at 311 N. Seventh St., two blocks from Silt Town Hall, was officially placed on the National Register of Historic Places on Dec. 3, 2013, after a process that lasted more than a year.
But it was a labor of love for Classen, who also serves on the board of the Silt Historical Park.
“I love the history of this area,” Classen said. “There is no other place in Silt on the National Historic Register, and I thought this would entice other people to do it, too.”
Classen says his home, which he purchased 10 years ago, was built in 1908. He submitted a request to History Colorado with information and photos of his property. The home was approved and sent for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places, which falls under the U.S. Department of the Interior.
“Then you do some more waiting to see if they say yes or no,” Classen said.
Some of the requirements to be eligible for historic designation include the building remaining in its original location and in its original condition.
“There can be some changes, but it can’t affect the overall look of the house,” Classen explained. “But there’s no restrictions. A private owner can do whatever they want with their house. But if it’s a government-owned entity such as a library, town hall or post office, you can’t.”
Classen’s home is a two-bedroom, one-bath, one-story wood structure with wood floors throughout 95 percent of the home. The two front windows of the home are original.
“When this home was built, there was no running water or electricity,” he said.
And the grandson of the first owner of the home lives in New Castle. Elmer Richel was born in the Seventh Street home and grew up there until his family moved out of state.
“I sat down with him and we went over some photo albums he had,” Classen said. “He told me all about the history of the house.”
Elmer’s mother was the daughter of the man who built the home, John Nunn. Elmer’s son, Keith Richel, serves as a Silt town trustee.
Classen himself grew up in Glenwood Springs.
“But I couldn’t afford a house there, so I bought one here,” he said with a laugh.
For now, he doesn’t plan to make any changes to the home.
“I’d like to bring back the original front porch, but other than that, I’m just going to do what I can to preserve it,” Classen said.
And enjoy the plaque that hangs out front proclaiming it a historic landmark.
“It took a while to get, but the thing I really had fun with was doing the research,” he said.