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Steamboat Pilot & Today has been chronicling the history of Routt County since 1885, telling the stories of our community through words and images, and in the process, accumulating thousands of photos that were stored in boxes and filing cabinets in our old Curve Plaza location.

When we began making plans to move to our new offices in the 910 Yampa building, I quickly realized we needed to find a way to permanently preserve all of those negatives, black-and-white photos and old newspaper clippings.

Each folder contained images taken by a Pilot & Today photojournalist along with related newspaper articles and sometimes reporter’s notes — priceless information that offers a unique glimpse into our community’s history.

The sheer volume of these archives threatened to overwhelm me logistically, because I knew our more compact downtown offices would not have space to store them, so I turned to the Tread of Pioneers Museum for assistance.

Museum Executive Director Candice Bannister was immediately interested in perusing our photo collection, and together with the assistance of an archives consultant, we took a quick inventory, and soon after, the Steamboat Pilot Archives Project was born.

The bulk of the collection spans from 1970 to 2001, but there are some pre-1970 original photos that date back as far as 1881. The archive is still being quantified, but the number of printed images surpasses 5,000. The goal of the project is to merge the photos into the museum’s online photo database and make them available to the public.

Each Saturday, we’ll publish a photo from the Steamboat Pilot Archives collection with whatever information we have about the image. These photos are among those the museum is working to preserve, and we hope this new editorial focus will shine a light on Routt County’s rich history.

The Steamboat Pilot Archives Project is a partnership of the Tread of Pioneers Museum and Steamboat Pilot & Today. To support the project, contact Candice Bannister, the museum’s executive director, at 970-879-2214 or cbannister@treadofpioneers.org. Donations can be mailed to the museum at P.O. Box 772372, Steamboat Springs, CO 80477.