PICK AND GAD CONSTRUCTION COMPANY
The Pick and Gad Construction and Development Company was started in 1982 by Chip Kamin and myself. We had bought the Pick and Gad Building on south Pine the year before and decided we’d build condominiums upstairs and offices on the first floor.
The Pick and Gad Building dated back to the 1890’s and was built to be a very upscale brothel. It had been shut down in the early 1920’s. We were told that in 1968 when the door was opened that everything was in perfect condition and everything was in its place like the owners had just closed for the evening and fifty years passed.
It was sold to Frank Bailey another Aspen land buyer and he sold it to Denny Brown in the late 70’s. Denny was a Chicago based investor that fell in love with Telluride and attempted to buy the ski resort but couldn’t make a deal with Joe Zoline. He then came up with the idea of building a first rate hotel, which he called the Telluride Hotel and use the old historical Pick and Gad Building as the entrance.
He started work on the Pick and Gad Building in 1980, but was unable to get HARC approval for his hotel plans. The “knows” or “no’s” were able to defeat the plan saying that it was just “too big”, the real story was that they didn’t want any place for tourists or visitors to be able to stay at—which goes along with the charge that we heard constantly in those days, “Don’t tell anyone about Telluride.”
Denny gave up after awhile and we ended up with the building. Interestingly, the lot to the north was ultimately built out as the Fall Line Condominiums and the other lot to the south became Ballard House which is still a skeleton and eyesore to this day. I’ve always used it as an example of how the good (selfish) intentions of civic minded people can lead to the worst decision imaginable which people for generations have to live with. Trust me, the Telluride Hotel was a better deal and didn’t look a thing like the Fall Line which has to be the one of the ugliest buildings ever built anywhere, let alone Telluride.
The story is that the Pick and Gad of the 1890’s was very high class and more of a place of good taste and culture than what we think of as brothels today. On the first floor was a large room with a stage where the girls that were always dressed to the “tens” sang, played the piano and put on skits and plays. The only alcohol served was French champagne (Dom Perignon) and to get in the door you had to have on a coat and tie and have taken a bath.
We even found a menu when we were remodeling and found that they served fresh oysters on the half shell and only Cuban cigars and there was a hundred dollar minimum at the door.
It’s been said that when Mark Twain visited he stayed at the Pick and Gad as did William Jennings Bryan, although he booked a room at the Sheridan and Teddy Roosevelt. Jack Dempsey, the prize fighter, was the bouncer and Butch Cassidy was a dishwasher there.
The building is one of just several designated National Historic Landmark Buildings in Telluride and its façade was carefully restored.
The interior has two condominiums upstairs and several offices downstairs. During our days, the Telluride Times Newspaper was located downstairs, where we spent many a late night putting together the newspaper.
If there were ghosts in the building, as many people claimed, they were all beautiful women dressed in the finest clothes imaginable, sipping French champagne and singing and dancing to Scott Joplin’s “Maple Leaf Rag”.