117-year-old building in Yampa receives Colorado’s most prestigious award for historic preservation

A 12-year effort to renovate the Crossan's M & A Market in Yampa received Colorado’s most prestigious award for historic preservation during an awards ceremony in Denver on Friday, Jan. 31. The 117-year-old building has since been repurposed into the Yampa Town Hall, a visitors center and museum.
File photo/Kari Dequine Harden

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The successful renovation of a once-derelict building in Yampa, about 30 miles south of Steamboat Springs, received the state’s most prestigious award for historic preservation projects during an award ceremony in Denver on Friday, Jan. 31.

Saving Crossan’s M&A Market, one of the oldest mercantile buildings in Colorado, took 12 years and cost about $1.2 million, according to officials involved in the project. 

State Sen. Bob Rankin and Rep. Dylan Roberts presented the Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation to three groups involved in the project, including Friends of Crossan’s Market, Historic Routt County and the town of Yampa. 

History Colorado, the nonprofit behind the award, also produced a video documenting the preservation. 

Jeff Drust, president of Friends of Crossan’s, a local group that helped to raise more than $630,000 for the renovations through grassroots fundraising, attended the award ceremony. He considered the statewide recognition an incredible achievement for a humble town of 460 people with only one paved street. 

Routt County Commissioner Tim Corrigan, a nearby resident of Yampa, who also attended the ceremony, said the preservation project has helped to revitalize the town. It has become a symbol of pride following the loss of Yampa’s historic Royal Hotel, which burned to the ground in 2015. 

“It was really a boost to the town’s morale to see something positive happen in the wake of that fire,” Corrigan said of the Crossan’s Market preservation project. 

The market, built in 1903 amid a boon brought on by the introduction of the railroad to the area, had fallen into disrepair prior to the renovations. Groundhogs dug under the foundation, according to Drust, and the building was sagging. 

The Friends of Crossan’s group formed in 2011 to save the market, and in 2013, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places

The project has become a poster child for preservation projects in Colorado, according to Historic Routt County Executive Director Emily Katzman. Known as an adaptive reuse project, renovations preserved the building’s historic character while repurposing it for modern uses. 

Owned by the town of Yampa, the second floor of Crossan’s Market now serves as the official Yampa Town Hall. The bottom floor is a visitor center and a museum. Next year, it also will host a traveling Smithsonian exhibit called “Crossroads: Change in Rural America,” according to Katzman. 

Noreen Moore, a member of Friends of Crossan’s who has been described as “the heart and soul” of the preservation project, saw the award as a wonderful way to commemorate the many people who helped make the building’s preservation possible. 

“It felt so good that all of us got the award,” Moore said. “The all of us is really what made it happen.”

Mountain Architecture Design Group provided architecture services for the project. Dobell Contracting Company served as the general contractor. 

Katzman also acknowledged the many donors who contributed funding, including grants from History Colorado, Colorado’s Department of Local Affairs, Routt County’s Museum and Heritage Fund, Colorado Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution, Yampa Egeria Historical Society, Gates Foundation, El Pomar Foundation, Boettcher Foundation, Yampa Valley Electric Association, Yampa Valley Community Foundation, the Laura Jane Musser Fund, Union Pacific Railroad and the Steamboat Sotheby’s Community Fund.

To reach Derek Maiolo, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @derek_maiolo.

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