8th Street home added to city’s historic register is one of few remaining examples of historic mason’s work
Linda Nolte considers her Eighth Street home “a little Hobbit house.” That’s what caught her eye when she purchased her Steamboat Springs property in 1987.
Thirty-three years and countless memories later, Nolte is still infatuated by her unassuming mid-20th century Tudor revival-style home, so much so that she wanted to preserve it for generations to come.
Nolte, with help from local historian Arianthè Stettner, successfully got her home added this month to the city of Steamboat Springs’ historic register, which carries regulatory power to help ensure the historic structure will remain.
“Our house was a gathering place, as I’m sure it was for the other families that lived here,” said Nolte, the home’s third owner. “As I did the research, … it was really fascinating to get more in-depth knowledge of how Steamboat grew and what life was like in the early 1900s here. And really how people lived their lives in those days.”
Nolte’s home was built in 1940 by Emerson Day Light and his wife, Ruth. Light was the son of legendary Francis Marion “F.M.” Light, who established the namesake Western-wear store that still exists in downtown Steamboat and who contributed greatly to the area’s development.
As Nolte took the first tour before buying her home, she focused on the craftsmanship and thought about what went into its creation. The home’s front façade is one of Nolte’s favorite features — masonry work completed by Joel Anderson in partnership with local master builder Art Gumprecht.
Swedish-born Anderson immigrated to the U.S. in 1912 and, soon after, moved to Routt County, where he initially worked in the local sawmills. It wasn’t long before he began working in masonry and became business associates with Steamboat icon Carl Howelsen in the mid-1910s. They worked together on numerous projects until 1924 when Anderson started his own business.
All the river cobble Anderson used was hand split with a hammer and chisel. What’s also unique about the masonry is Anderson’s use of rope-like mortar to hold the rocks in place.
Stettner suggested in her research that the masonry constituted a defining feature of the original historic town and represents some of Steamboat’s most character-defining historic assets.
“There aren’t a lot of examples left, and it was something that Joel Anderson — that was his trademark, his style,” said Erica Hewitt, the city’s historic preservation consultant.
Nolte provided several pages of historic information with her application to prove her home’s legacy. She spent hours at the Tread of Pioneers Museum and Bud Werner Memorial Library and even managed to speak with Anderson’s grandson Tyke Pearce, who was able to provide some first-hand historic context about the famed builder.
“(Linda) went above and beyond providing information and doing the historic research for this property,” Hewitt said.
Nolte’s application was approved Oct. 11 by the city’s Historic Preservation Commission.
Getting help from a renowned history buff like Stetner was made possible by a grant received by Historic Routt County from the Routt County Museum and Heritage Fund advisory board. The grant allows funds for local history experts to help residents complete applications for the city’s register.
Hewitt said many people seeking to be added to the register have been financially motivated as the city is able to offer access to the state’s historic preservation tax credit, which provides 35% of a restoration project’s value back in tax credits. That can be used for many things, including replacing a historic property’s windows or adding a new roof.
In Nolte’s case, the tax credit was a major draw when she discovered parts of her 80-plus-year-old home were crumbling. It was also about protecting a piece of history.
“The little archways, built-in things — there’s a built-in iron; there’s a built-in flour grinder,” Nolte said. “The wood paneling inside is around all the frames and windows — my floors, I love my floors. They’re original oak floors. It’s just all those little crafty touches that I think make the house unique.”
To reach Bryce Martin, call 970-871-4206 or email bmartin@SteamboatPilot.com.
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This article is the second part of a two-part series. The first installment covered what insulin is and how it was discovered.