‘Strength & Heart’ to celebrate women of Routt’s past

Laura Trabka
Dorothy Wither and other community members worked tirelessly to open the Tread of Pioneers Museum. She will be one of the women featured at the "Strength & Heart: Stories of Routt County Women" at 6 p.m. Saturday at Steaming Bean Coffee Co.
Courtesy Photo

Years of research and sifting through the archives at Tread of Pioneers Museum have led to creating an event that will take participants back in time.

The museum on Oak Street in downtown Steamboat Springs along with Spellbinders will be presenting “Strength & Heart: Stories of Routt County Women.”

“It’s a way to celebrate Women’s History Month,” said Candice Bannister, executive director of the Tread of Pioneers Museum. “Through my time here, I was finding in the archives that there were these incredible women in our history. You don’t necessarily know about these people’s lives, and so we started to dig around.”

Bannister said she teamed up with Marianne Capra, of Spellbinders, to revamp a past event called “Lovely Local Ladies.”

With the help of Spellbinders volunteers, Strength & Heart will bring women in Routt County’s history to life.

“We are looking to rekindle (the past event) now that Spellbinders is performing,” Capra said. “Spellbinders is a spirited group of people who want to make those personalities come to life.”

The event will feature actresses performing first-person monologues about women from Routt County’s history. Spellbinders first was started in Steamboat in 2008 and consists of a group of volunteers dedicated to the art of oral storytelling.

“Rather than me telling you, it’s Margaret Duncan Brown” telling the story, Bannister said.

Historical women from Routt County that will be featured include Emma Hull Peck, who was a turn-of-the-century school teacher and superintendent; Margaret Duncan Brown, who was a rancher along the Elk River; Marjorie Perry, who was instrumental in bringing Carl Howelsen to Steamboat; and Dorothy Wither, the founder of Tread of Pioneers Museum.

“A lot of the women that we are focusing on, we can point to things in town” that they had a hand in, Capra said.

Capra even will be getting into character, taking on the role of Duncan Brown.

“I love stories, and that’s what I think is unique about this program,” she said. “All of these women have paved the path we walk down now.”

The event is free and is at 6 p.m. Saturday at Steaming Bean Coffee Co. at Seventh Street and Lincoln Avenue.

Bannister said she wanted to move the event to a downtown business to make it fun and fresh. Capra added that Steaming Bean was a good fit also because coffee shops typically are conversational and community oriented.

“I feel like a lot of good museums throughout the world connect with the public through some type of historical theater or performance of historical events in people’s lives,” Bannister said. “For that reason, I think this is good for people of all ages and backgrounds. It’ll be very entertaining, and you’ll learn a lot of the women who shaped Routt’s history.”

To reach Laura Mazade, call 970-870-1368, email or follow her on Twitter @Lmazade

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