Bill Gay: Barns reflect Yampa Valley’s ranching history |

Bill Gay: Barns reflect Yampa Valley’s ranching history

Barns house the history of the rural heritage across the West. Their individualistic architecture reveals the agricultural histories of the surrounding landscape.

Take for example the huge, stately barns of the Palouse that housed the four abreast teams that farmed the famous wheat hills of southeastern Washington state, log barns of the homesteads that dotted the valleys of the Rocky Mountain West, or like the Hoogendorn barn on the Elk River, that reflected the cattle ranches here in Routt County.

The loss of the “Warren Barn” on Routt County Road 129 takes us back to a mostly ranching Steamboat Springs community.

Forrest and Ruth Warren were Catch-it-Calf Scramble sponsors in 1958 at the Routt County Fair and Rodeo. The Hereford heifer they donated for the event was wrangled by a country bumpkin kid. That calf came from the corrals of the Circle Bar Barn owned by the Warrens 60 years ago. The barn became the cornerstone of a cattle herd that still grazes on the south valley floor along the Yampa River here in Steamboat.

In your travels along these country roads of the county, when passing by an old barn, give pause as they signify an era gone by. These structures unique to our heritage are disappearing. Take time to reflect.

Happy trails,

Bill Gay

Steamboat Springs

P.S. Thanks Tom Ross, for a job well done on the column about the lost barn.

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