Community Ag Alliance: Preserving the Arnold Barn |

Community Ag Alliance: Preserving the Arnold Barn

Arianthé Stettner
For the Steamboat Pilot & Today

The preservation of the 1928 Arnold Barn is now substantially complete. The work has been done with authenticity and accuracy in mind and with careful attention paid by many professionals.

Last year, the structure was moved up the road to a new foundation. The original roof was replaced, thanks to a generous donation from Berlet Roofing. The barn was stabilized, the windows rebuilt and reglazed, and the doors restored. The original roofing from the Arnold Barn was saved and recently recycled to repair the — much smaller — roof of the Yock Cabin in front of the More Barn, just down the road.

In 2019, work has focused on site improvements and interpretation of the historic resource. This includes the installation of interpretive signs, pedestrian paths, corral fencing around the barn and landscaping. Research and the guidance of area ranchers determined the materials and appropriate design for the corral. The local beetle-kill rails are fastened on the inside to prevent livestock from pushing against the rails and escaping. The design enables an animal to be led inside the front of the barn or to exit the corral from a gate in the back.

A restored vintage feed sled will be placed in the corral in the weeks ahead, a gift from Routt County rancher Bill Gay. For nearly 50 years, Gay hitched his team of draft horses to this sled to feed cattle in the winter.

From the late 1980s until 2016, the barn was known as the Butterfly Barn, named for the colorful wooden butterflies, crafted by local artist Daniel Kelly, mounted on the gable end of the barn. If you look closely at the back gable, the remains of a butterfly are still visible. An original butterfly is on display at the Tread of Pioneers Museum.

There will be more information about the barn on the site. Historians from Northwest Colorado Cultural Heritage Program, the Tread of Pioneers Museum and Historic Routt County have collaborated on the text for three interpretive signs positioned along new trails and a crosswalk connecting the barn to the wider mountain area. 

Saving the Arnold Barn was first proposed by the Steamboat Springs Redevelopment Authority in 2006. With the economic downturn in 2008, the project languished. Owners changed, efforts stalled, and the barn deteriorated. By 2016 it was in dire shape. A grassroots advocacy group, Save Arnold Barn, sponsored by Historic Routt County, brought the barn’s plight to the city’s attention, rallied the community and helped to reactivate the project to showcase our agricultural heritage as a welcoming landmark for the mountain area.

Saving the Arnold Barn has come to fruition through a unique partnership between Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp., owner of the Arnold Barn; The Steamboat Grand Hotel & Condominium Association, owner of the property on which the barn is located; the Steamboat Springs Redevelopment Authority, project funding and management; and Save Arnold Barn/Historic Routt County, the preservation voice of the community.

Arianthé Stettner sits on the Historic Routt County Board of Directors and is Save Arnold Barn Chair.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.