On the secluded shore of Twin Lakes stands the boarded and faded buildings of Interlaken, a 19th century luxury resort.

In the midst of the resort is Dexter Cabin, which is being restored by volunteers under the watchful eye of the U.S. Forest Service.

James Dexter was a mining baron from Leadville who also owned and operated the resort.

“This house was built by James Dexter for the use of his family,” said Terry Leitsman who is supervising the restoration.

In fact, Dexter’s Cabin was the family’s second home and it was built in the mid-1890s.

The restoration project began 4 years ago and more than 300 volunteers have spent thousands of hours restoring the building.

“A number of architects have come through here and been quite amazed at the quality of the craftsmanship and the way it has withstood time since the late 1800s,” Leitsman said.

The home is a rare mix of constructions techniques with rough-hewn logs on the outside for the look of a backwoods cabin, but inside the door sashes and wood floors are made from the finest machine-milled materials of the day.

Master craftsmen filled the home with exquisite detail with different hand carvings in every room.

That detail has attracted a certain type of volunteer.

“These volunteers right here are taking lessons from a master craftsman that we’ve added to the project,” said Leitsman.

Patrick Haire is an expert on 19th-century woodworking tools and machinery. He said the work in the Dexter Cabin is extraordinary.

“Very narrow stairs lead up to what we call the cupola or widow’s walk,” Lietsman said. “It isn’t something we’d ordinarily see in Rocky Mountain architecture, it certainly provides a beautiful view.”

Once Dexter Cabin is fully restored it will be available to rent by the day for occasions like weddings or reunions.


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