Mechau family of Redstone hosts Sunday home, art studio tour
Post Independent intern
Redstone historical tour
When: 1-4 p.m. Sunday, July 15
Where: Mechau/Roberts home and studio, Crystal Farms, 18 Antelope Drive (1.5 miles past the coke ovens, look for the balloons and white canopy)
What: Studio tour event is free for all Redstone Historical Society members; non-members are also welcome to attend with a suggested $10 donation.
In the last golden years of the 1920s, John C. Osgood sold his quaint Redstone dairy farm and home to Glenwood Springs native Frank Mechau. Until Mechau’s death in 1946, he used the house simultaneously as an art studio and a home to raise his four children in.
The house, along with the art studio of another acclaimed local artist, Jack Roberts, will be open for the public to tour on Sunday afternoon.
The open house will be part of the Redstone Historical Society’s annual membership event, and will feature a 1/4-mile scenic hike, tours of both studios, refreshments and historical background on the artists.
Mechau’s son, Mike, plans to attend and co-host the tour of his father’s home with his brother.
“We have great memories of our mother, Paula, who preserved our father’s memory,” Mike said. “We are very pleased that it’s going to happen.”
He added that his family is pleased to host the tour and showcase the significance of the house itself and the fine architecture on behalf of Redstone.
Mechau, a three-time Guggenheim scholar, studied art in Paris before returning to the U.S. to continue his studies and his work. He was the only Guggenheim scholar allowed to study in the United States, as most Guggenheim scholars were French.
His artwork is still on display in the Redstone Inn, the Forest Service building in Glenwood Springs, and the Glenwood Springs Frontier Museum. He also created a mural for the Carbondale Post Office, which has since been moved to a federal building in Denver. Ten years ago, the mural was recreated in memory of Mechau and the replica was installed in the Carbondale Post Office.
The property where Mechau made his home and his living in Redstone was originally intended by the Osgoods to be a resort. There had been plans to build a ski lift and a golf course there before Mechau bought the estate.
“I think it’s important to see this part of the estate. There’s very little known of it,” said Redstone Historical Society board member Debby Strom.
Mechau’s work, according to his son, Mike, has become increasingly of interest to the public in past years. Denver’s Channel 12 has begun creating a documentary film that will follow Mechau’s artwork. The trailer, or preview video, dubbed “Frank Mechau’s Modern West,” can be found at cpt12.org/mechau.
Jack Roberts’ studio is filled with his colorful creations of western settings, such as cowboys and Indians, newspapermen and historical expeditions. He lived in the cabin, which he built himself in 1969 and doubled as his studio, for 30 years and averaged 40 paintings a year.
He also resided in South Canyon and Glenwood Springs, and it is said that he would trade paintings for his bar tabs. Roberts passed away in 2000, and his Redstone cabin stands today almost exactly as he left it.
According to the Redstone Historical Society, the event will be a rare chance to visit these historical homes and to view two of Western Colorado’s most acclaimed artists’ works.
Strom said, “We probably are just a footnote in U.S. history, but it’s a sweet little town.”
The event is open to all Redstone Historical Society members, and non-members also are welcome to attend with a suggested $10 donation. The event will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Mechau and Roberts properties, just upriver from the Redstone Castle. Balloons will mark the exit off of Highway 133, 1.5 miles past the coke ovens, where a white canopy tent will be set up.