Exploring the Historic Cabins of Keystone Science School Campus


Nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, the Keystone Science School campus holds a rich history within its collection of cabins. These cabins, once integral to the operations of the surrounding town of Keystone, now serve as a testament to the area’s past, offering a glimpse into the lives of early settlers, loggers, and workers of the sawmill industry.

Max Cabin (Eagle’s Nest)

Eagle’s Nest, now known as Max, with its distinctive skylight roof, once served as the residence of the sawmill foreman. Originally a single-room cabin, it expanded over time to accommodate the needs of its inhabitants. During renovations, the discovery of Swedish newspapers from 1890 provided a glimpse into the past, showcasing the diverse heritage of the area.

Levy Cabin

Levy cabin, standing as one of the last structures built in Old Keystone, holds a unique place in the town’s history. Originally serving as a boarding house for loggers, its more modern frame construction reflects the evolving architecture of the area. Yet, amidst its structural changes, the cabin retains echoes of its past, including its connection to a Chinese cook’s cabbage-growing business. Stories of the cook surveying his cabbage patch from the roof, along with the discovery of opium bottles, add layers of intrigue to its narrative. Today, the cabin stands as a reminder of the diverse communities that once thrived in Keystone, a testament to the resilience and adaptability of its inhabitants across generations.

Jane’s Cabin

Jane’s Cabin, originally known as Alhambra Cabin, carries a rich and varied history. Originally situated east of Ski Tip Ranch, it was a focal point for the Dercum family, who played a significant role in the development of Keystone and Arapahoe Basin ski areas. The cabin witnessed the birth of plans that would shape the region’s recreational landscape, as Max and Edna Dercum raised their family within its walls. Moved to its present location in 1980, the cabin’s relocation preserved its historical significance, allowing future generations to appreciate its role in Keystone’s past. With each log and beam, Jane’s Cabin holds the stories of those who dreamed and built the mountain community we know today.

Coyote and Fox Cabins

Coyote and Fox cabins stand as original structures in Old Keystone, embodying the enduring spirit of the town’s early settlers. Since the 1880s, these cabins have been homes to generations of residents, witnessing the ebb and flow of life in the mountains. Over time, they have undergone expansions and modifications, yet their essence remains unchanged. From housing miners and loggers to now accommodating Keystone Science School staff, Coyote and Fox cabins serve as tangible links to the past. Their weathered exteriors and cozy interiors tell stories of resilience, community, and the enduring bond between humans and nature in the heart of the Rockies.

Beaver Depot

Beaver Depot, with its distinctive green roof, stands as a reminder of Keystone’s past as a bustling railroad town. Originally likely located closer to the railroad tracks, the cabin’s interior hints at its potential use as a ticket office and relay station. Constructed with tongue and groove paneling, similar to buildings at the Pennsylvania Mine and residences in neighboring towns, Beaver Depot’s walls hold echoes of the past.


Snowshoe, once a humble animal barn, now stands as a testament to the dedication of those preserving Keystone’s history. Dilapidated by 1987, the building was lovingly restored by Site Manager John Lugo and Director Danny McBride in 1988, transforming it into a functional space for maintaining the campus. Today, insulated, electrified, and heated, Snowshoe serves as a workshop and gear storage facility. Its attached lean-to, once part of the barn, adds to its rustic charm. A faint aroma of its past still lingers, reminding visitors of its former occupants!

Taylor Cabin

Taylor Cabin stands as a testament to traditional log and shed construction methods, showcasing the craftsmanship of the past. Originally serving as a barn, it was renovated in 1982 to become a classroom for the Keystone Science School. With its galvanized metal roofing and sturdy log walls, Taylor Cabin exudes a timeless charm while providing a functional space for learning. Serving as a model for the design of new dormitories, it embodies the school’s commitment to preserving its heritage while embracing modern educational practices. As students gather within its walls, they are surrounded by the echoes of generations past, inspiring them to continue the legacy of exploration and discovery that Taylor Cabin represents.

Henry Dorm

Henry Dormitory, constructed in the late 1980s thanks to the generous donations and fundraising efforts of Mrs. Joan Manley, stands as a tribute to the legacy of Della Louise Daniels, fondly known as “Kitt.” Named in her honor, Henry Dormitory reflects Kitt’s dedication to outdoor education and her nurturing spirit towards children and grandchildren. With its rustic charm and comfortable accommodations, this dormitory provides a welcoming space for students and staff to rest and reflect after a day of outdoor exploration. Kitt’s influence is felt throughout the building, reminding all who enter of her love for the mountains and her commitment to fostering a deep connection with nature. As students gather in Henry Dormitory, they continue Kitt’s legacy, embracing her values of respect, stewardship, and appreciation for the natural world.


Wapiti, a two-room cabin facing south, holds a special place in Keystone’s history as one of the original residences of the Eric Erikson family, early settlers of Old Keystone. Despite being over a century old, Wapiti has been continuously lived in and renovated, showcasing its enduring quality and adaptability. As one of the first buildings in Old Keystone to have electricity, Wapiti represents the transition from pioneer life to modern comforts. Today, Wapiti serves as a reminder of the town’s rich heritage and the resilience of those who called it home.


Originally an office for the Keystone Science School’s administration and camp teams until 2019, Marmot has undergone a transformation and now serves as staff housing. Despite its humble beginnings as a garage, its relocation from Old Dillon and subsequent renovations speak to Keystone’s commitment to preserving its history while meeting the evolving needs of the community. With its insulation made from sawdust and foundation constructed from railroad ties, Marmot embodies KSS’s resourceful spirit and ability to repurpose old structures for new purposes.


Porcupine, originally named Rainbow House, was initially a garage believed to have been moved from Old Dillon before the reservoir’s filling in the early 1960s. Renovated and repurposed, it now accommodates up to twelve people and serves as a cozy lodging space. Its foundation, made of railroad ties likely sourced from the Keystone railroad, reflects the town’s historical ties to transportation. Insulated with sawdust, a traditional material of the past, Porcupine stands as a testament to Keystone’s resourcefulness and sustainability practices. Over the years, it has provided shelter to many, offering a comfortable retreat for visitors to the KSS campus.

The Sawmill Residences

Three small log cabins on the north side of the road east of the KSS campus were once home to many of the men who worked at the sawmill. Dating back to the early 1900s, these cabins housed workers in what must have been cramped quarters, providing essential shelter for those contributing to the burgeoning timber industry in Keystone.

Storage Sheds and Garages

Storage sheds and garages were necessary for storing supplies transported by train in and out of the town. Constructed with pine planking and metal galvanized roofs, these structures were vital for preserving perishable items and keeping the town functioning smoothly.

Teiken Place

Teiken Place, located east of Bighorn Dormitory, is a modern office building with classroom spaces that epitomizes Keystone Science School’s commitment to education and innovation. Constructed in the summer of 2018 and opened for staff in March 2019, the building serves as a hub for learning and collaboration. Named in honor of a generous donor, Teiken Place embodies the school’s values of community and stewardship. With its modern amenities and state-of-the-art facilities, it provides a dynamic environment for staff and students to engage in hands-on learning experiences. As a beacon of progress on the Keystone Science School campus, Teiken Place represents the school’s dedication to fostering a deeper understanding of the natural world and inspiring future generations of environmental leaders.


Alpine Cabin, is our newest Staff Lodging, represents the Keystone Science School’s commitment to providing comfortable and modern accommodations for its staff. Constructed in the summer of 2018 and opened for staff in the spring of 2019, this new addition to the campus offers a welcoming retreat for those working tirelessly to support the school’s mission. Situated east of Teiken Place, Alpine Cabin boasts contemporary amenities and cozy interiors, providing a home away from home for staff members. Its construction reflects the school’s dedication to enhancing the overall experience for its team while maintaining the rustic charm of the surrounding environment. As staff members settle into their new lodging, they become part of a community dedicated to education, conservation, and outdoor exploration.

Many of these cabins have been renovated and repurposed over the years, serving as dormitories, offices, and classrooms for the Keystone Science School. The care and preservation of these structures speak to the community’s commitment to honoring its past while embracing its future.

As visitors wander through the cabins of the KSS campus, they are transported back in time to an era of rugged pioneers and industrious workers. These cabins stand as silent witnesses to the town’s evolution, preserving the stories of those who shaped its history. From the bustling sawmill industry to the quiet solitude of mountain life, each cabin tells a unique tale, contributing to the rich tapestry of Keystone’s past.