Topping the list due to the fact that its existence will enhance life in Antonito for many years, the renowned Warshauer Mansion takes center stage as the heart of community government.
After a great deal of work and being careful to preserve all the original art and woodwork in the huge brick building, the first of the municipal moves began June 11, 2018. It was business as usual June 18.
The mansion’s existence is not without problems. On Dec. 9, 1911, its predecessor was destroyed by fire.
The Antonito Ledger News reported the fire started in the third story of the frame structure and was totally destroyed.
The Warshauer family was in Denver and only the maids and other staff were present. The fire was discovered about 10:30 p.m. by the hired man who saw smoke issuing from the roof.
The Ledger editor reported, “the finest residence in the county was elegant in every detail, modern in every particular from basement to garret and supplied throughout with the rarest of furnishings, many of which were works of art Mr. and Mrs. Warshauer had purchased while abroad. It is indeed a shame to think of it being reduced to a mass of ruins. The library, which had been completed but a few months, was without question the most beautiful room imaginable. Arranged and furnished in a manner to be utilized and enjoyed by every member of the family, its rare splendor may be partially appreciated by those who had not seen it when it is known that, with its contents, this one room could not be duplicated for $20,000.
“It contained the works of all the masters of science and nature—all limited editions —the volumes being bound in leather and of an elegance fully recognized only by the fastidious bookworm. While a great portion of the contents of the home was removed from the house in time to save it from the fire, the damage from water and the breakage in handling the myriads of rare knicknacks it has taken years to gather, is inestimable. While the property was, of course, insured, it is impossible to get sufficient insurance to cover more than a fraction of the real value, and the hosts of friends of the family are united in expressions of sorrow over their irreparable loss.”
On Dec. 23, Fred Warshauer informed the Ledger that he would “begin the erection of a residence on the site of the one which was destroyed by fire last week as soon as the frost will permit next spring.”
“Other than that it will be of pressed brick he has no matured plans. He simply states that he will build a good house, which probably means that it will be at least as good a building as the former one. This news will be appreciated by the people of Antonito.”
“The Warshauer family residence was the object of Antonito’s greatest public pride and the public appreciates the spirit of the man who can see an accomplishment of 30 years’ labor go up in smoke within six months of its completion and then at once begin preparations to begin the work over again. However, the task will be less than when he began, for the reason that his valuable books, art treasures, etc., were recovered from the fire in a good state of preservation.”