Celebrate National Historic Preservation Month in Routt County during May
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Visiting a historic place opens the door to the past.
“When I look at a historic building, not only am I admiring the structure — the design and craftsmanship, the local materials, the hands that labored to build the place — but I’m thinking about everything that may have happened there over the years,” said Emily Katzman, Historic Routt County executive director.
Historic preservation, Katzman explained, is about storytelling, and it’s often a behind-the-scenes endeavor.
“It’s important to preserve our built environment because it’s such a tangible way to understand our past: who we are as a community and why, but also where we’re going in the future,” Katzman said.
At its most basic level, it’s the practice of protecting and maintaining historic structures and sites that have social, cultural, political, archaeological or architectural significance.
“It impacts all of us, though we might not recognize it at work,” she said.
Throughout May, however, there’s a chance to celebrate the past that made Steamboat the town it is today during National Historic Preservation Month.
Preservation, according to the National Park Service, is defined as “a conversation with our past about our future.”
“I love that definition because it helps explain why preservation is important,” Katzman said. “Rather than saving places only to serve as monuments to our past, historic preservationists are thinking about the future.”
Locally, Historic Routt County has helped to preserve and document many of the area’s landmarks.
“My personal way of celebrating Historic Preservation Month is to support the businesses, whether restaurants, shops or offices, that operate in historic buildings,” said Arianthe Stettner, Historic Routt County co-founder.
With the trails drying out, Stettner suggests hikes to historic landmarks like the Mad Creek Barn, which was around 1905 by James Harry Ratliff, who was one of the original forest rangers for the Routt County National Forest. Other great destinations are the Diamond Window Cabin on the road to Stagecoach and the Rock Creek Stage Stop on Gore Pass.
Other places to visit this month include one-room schoolhouses and the Tread of Pioneers, Hayden Heritage Center, Hahn’s Peak and Yampa-Egeria museums.
“Historic preservationists don’t just look at buildings,” Katzman said. “We’re interested in all the different ways people interact with the environment. I’m particularly interested in historic trails and travel routes.”
A few of those include remnants of the Ute Pass connecting the Elk River Valley and North Park and the Ellis Freight Trail in North Routt.
On June 24, Friends of Crossan’s and Historic Routt County will host a concert featuring Todd Park Mohr to benefit the rehabilitation of the historic Crossan’s M & A Market in Yampa. Another event to be on the lookout for will be the relocation and restoration of the Arnold Barn at the intersection of Mount Werner Circle and Mount Werner Road.
“Preservation Month is a great opportunity to highlight the impact of historic preservation in our communities,” Katzman said.
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