State Bridge Lodge owner looking for the right buyer
STATE BRIDGE, Colorado – Scott Stoughton put 10 years of hard work into State Bridge. So a year after an intentionally set fire burned the lodge there, like other people, he has had a tough time letting go.”I’m moving forward with a heavy heart,” said Stoughton, the resort’s general manager.But he still has more work to do. As State Bridge’s owner tries to sell the property, Stoughton hopes to find a new owner that will “continue the tradition” by making State Bridge once again a place where people attend concerts, eat and spend the night reveling. Built in 1890, the main building that burned early June 2 at State Bridge River Resort was during its history a brothel and a Prohibition-era speakeasy and gambling den. It even hosted President Theodore Roosevelt and a hunting party.A couple concerts were held after the fire, but the resort has since closed.”It’s been kind of harder than I thought,” Stoughton said about his feelings a year after the blaze. “It really affects you. It drains your spirit.”Investigation continuesInvestigators believe the fire was set to possibly to cover up evidence of a burglary, but what was stolen has not been revealed and no arrests have been made. Detective Brandon Beaudette of the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office said he is still investigating the arson.”Although the case has gone pretty cold, there are some leads,” Beaudette said.Beaudette said he doesn’t think anyone who lives in Eagle County set the fire. He said the investigation “has taken me out of the county,” but he declined to elaborate.Following the fire, a dog and portable electronic devices indicated “accelerants” – substances such as gasoline that make fires burn faster – had been used near where the burglary took place. However, Colorado Bureau of Investigation laboratory tests did not end up showing whether accelerants were used, Beaudette said.”They said there could be accelerants, but there wasn’t a detectable amount in the material they received,” he said. Drawing a crowd againState Bridge has been shown dozens of times since it burned, said Mike Devins, a Realtor for Remax Vail Valley. Two groups are interested in buying the 23-acre property, listed at $1.1 million, Devins said. One is a magazine publisher and another is in the “hospitality industry,” said Devins, who declined to name the potential buyers. Stoughton said he may consult for whoever buys State Bridge on how to run it, but he won’t manage it or become an owner in the future. “What I’m really trying to do is find the right buyer for the place that will do the right thing,” Stoughton said.Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 970-748-2931 or email@example.com.
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