Crossans’ Market lands $400,000 grant
Steamboat Springs — The little South Routt town of Yampa, population 429, sustained a blow in January when the historic Royal Hotel burned down. But this tragic loss was followed by some positive news in late March with the announcement of a $400,000 Colorado Department of Local Affairs grant to support the preservation of Crossans’ M&A Market.
The historic grocery, which dates back to Yampa’s days as a railroad boomtown in the early 20th century, was stabilized when it was placed on a new foundation in 2013. Now, Friends of Crossans’ spokeswoman Noreen Moore said the numerous volunteers who have worked on the project can look ahead to it completion.
“Construction will start again hopefully in July, and we hope to have a grand opening on July 4, 2016,” Moore said.
The latest grant follows a $50,000 DOLA grant awarded in November 2014 to complete construction documents. The project had previously received a $410,000 grant from the State Historical Fund, and with $78,000 in donations raised by Friends of Crossans, volunteers are now coming close to the total restoration cost of $1.1 million.
John Dobell is the general contractor, and the architect is Jan Kaminski, of Mountain Architecture Design Group.
The town of Yampa purchased Crossan’s from Ken and Cindy Montgomery in 2006 for $69,000. It was added to the Routt County Register of Historic Places in 2008 and subsequently added to the National Register.
The market was built in 1903 by two brothers with a checkered past.
“In 1902, there wasn’t much to Yampa,” Yampa historian Rita Herold told a Steamboat audience in 2012. “The church didn’t have its steeple on yet. But in 1903, 40 new buildings went up in one year.”
Sam and Ed Bell, who had a reputation for strong-arming union leaders on behalf of mine owners in Cripple Creek, built the general merchandise store in the town’s L-shaped commercial district.
The Bell brothers sold the store in 1905 to Buck & Son, and just as fast as they built the first general merchandise store in Yampa, they attempted to take advantage of the new owners by building a new, larger store right next door, Herold said.
Buck & Son morphed into Buck and Moore after a year. But it was George Canant, who purchased the store in 1910, who finally brought some stability to the operation. He dubbed the store Canant’s on the Corner and competed with the Bell brothers by touting his selection of fresh produce. He remained at the helm of the store until 1930.
Because it wasn’t entirely proper for young ladies and respectable gentlemen to hang out in the local saloon, Herold said, the general merchandise store became an important social hub.
When the building reopens in 2016, there will be town offices on the second level, but the street level will be devoted to historic store fixtures and advertising posters from the 1950s and 1960s.
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