The Purple Mountain Bed & Breakfast
The Purple Mountain Bed & Breakfast was built in 1927 as Crested Butte’s central mining office for the Big Mine. In the early 1960s, as the town of Crested Butte was being revitalized, the old mining buildings were being re-engineered and moved for new uses.
In the early 1970s, the mining office was moved from the now Heights subdivision on the “bench” above Crested Butte to its current location to sit near the old proprietor's home and the mule barn. Work on the mining office took several years, but in 1976 it opened as a lodge.
In 1979, the mining office became known as the Purple Mountain Lodge, gathering its name from a local favorite – the Purple Mountain. Purple Mountain is the 662nd highest peak in Colorado, the 257th most prominent in the state and the 25th highest twelver in Colorado sitting at an elevation of 12,958 feet.
In July 2003, Christopher and Mollie Haver became the fourth owners. That fall and early winter they did a complete renovation updating and restoring the property bringing original architecture and modern conveniences under one roof. Year to year, they continue to bring new features to the bed & breakfast, all the while taking care to respect its historic roots.
The Town of Crested Butte
The Town of Crested Butte, fondly referred to as the Gateway to the Elk Mountains, sits at an elevation of 8,885 feet in a valley high atop the Rocky Mountains. Crested Butte was originally home to the Ute Indians, prior to the miners who migrated to the area as early as 1860. Miners were attracted to the area because of the extensive coal deposits, establishing Crested Butte as a major supply center prior to becoming a long-term coal producer.
On November 21, 1881, the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad began operations between Gunnison and Crested Butte. The arrival of the railroad ended Crested Butte’s isolation and facilitated the expansion of the coal industry and the town.
The first large mine in Crested Butte was called the Jokerville Mine, established in the 1880s. On January 24, 1884, an explosion occurred and the mine never reopened. Later that same year, the Big Mine was opened, becoming the third largest coal mine in Colorado and producing the highest quality coal in the state.
Big Mine operated for 58 years, eventually closing in 1952 bringing the end of the coal era in Crested Butte. In 1955, the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad removed their tracks and Crested Butte’s economy and population declined.
In 1960, Dick Elfin and Fred Rick from Kansas, purchased a ranch northeast of the town of Crested Butte. By the winter of 1962 – 1963, they opened a ski area on Crested Butte Mountain with Colorado’s first gondola, revitalizing the area and growing it to its present day resort community.