Gilpin County Historic Preservation Commission
By Hon. Gary Jackson
Zephyr View, one of the first Colorado mountain resort cabins built and owned by a Black man, has been designated a Colorado Historic Landmark Building by the Gilpin County Historic Preservation Commission on November 17, 2020.
Zephyr View was built in 1926 by William Pitts, the mixed-race son of a slaveholder. Raised by his enslaved mother, Pitts became a carpenter and church and home builder. After moving from Missouri to Denver in 1919, Pitts built two family homes and a speculative house in the Cherry Creek area which was then mostly prairie. He was one of the first to recognize the opportunity of Lincoln Hills, a Gilpin County mountain area owned by whites but designated for Black home ownership.
As Pitts pointed out to friends, church groups and civic organizations, the reasonably priced land, only an hour drive from Denver, gave Blacks an opportunity for home ownership. Another selling point was that at a time of rampant discrimination, Blacks could take advantage of the beautiful scenery and recreational activities denied to them at other Colorado resorts.
Today, Zephyr View, a red-painted structure perched on a mountainside with a west-facing deck with a view on all four sides is a sterling example of the architectural style of the 1920s, enhanced by the use of native materials including river rock and pine trees.
The cabin is owned by two of Pitts’ descendants, Honorable Gary Jackson of Denver and Nancelia Regina Belton of Chicago, Illinois. Zephyr View cabin is located at 31 Pitts Place in historic Lincoln Hills, and is enjoyed year around by several generations of the Pitts/ Scott/ Elbeck/ Jackson family.
Those who desire any follow up information, please contact the Gilpin County Historic Preservation Commission by mail at 203 Eureka Street, Central City, Colorado 80427 or by phone at 303-582-5831.