Ray Suarez: What the Recession Looks like in ‘Boom Town’ of Eagle, Colo.

BY Ray Suarez  December 10, 2009 at 8:46 PM EDT

Eagle, Colo. | Next in our Patchwork Nation series, we set off for a “Boom Town.” Eagle County had doubled in population since the early years of the decade, and was set to double again quickly. Fueled by income coming from the other end of the valley in the famed ski resort of Vail, and sustained by its own homegrown building bubble, Eagle was a sleepy ranching town gripped by change. Then the recession hit. Houses built as part of a huge residential development stand empty, the lumberyard has closed, more people are heading to the church-sponsored food pantry and the Monday evening potluck supper. One graphic example of the boom’s bust is the Adam’s Rib Ranch golf community, built on a beautiful patch of land that was once a ranch. The 40,000-square-foot clubhouse — meant to be the centerpiece for a golf club limited to 300 well-heeled members — stands virtually empty. The 100 home sites meant to sell for something between $900,000 and $2 million are just sitting there. Few buyers come to take a look. Just one site has sold. Editor’s note: Watch a Web-only video on how a free meal offering in Eagle has created an “interweaving of the community.”