From the archives: Gladys Starr crowned Queen of Ski Carnival |

From the archives: Gladys Starr crowned Queen of Ski Carnival

Gladys (Starr) Gross of Hayden is shown with her driver Marcellus Merrill during the 1963 Winter Carnival parade. Gross was the first Winter Carnival queen in 1916 and she returned to Steamboat for the Pageant of Queens almost 50 years later in 1963.
Museum of Northwest Colorado/Courtesy photo

This article originally appeared in the Steamboat Pilot on Feb. 23, 1916. It and the accompanying photographs were provided by the Museum of Northwest Colorado in Craig.

The counting judges began their labors at 12 o’clock noon and from that time until announcement was made, an expectant crowd waited at Elk Park with increasing interest for the news of the election of the Queen of the Carnival.

It was during the professional exhibitions that the announcement was made that the judges had arrived at a decision, and this was followed by silence in which the whispering of the breezes through the stately pines seemed to tell of the coming of a queen to be.

Even the voice of the announcer was jubilant as he proclaimed by megaphone to the 3,000 waiting people that Miss Gladys Starr of Hayden had been selected by popular vote as queen, and a cheer that must have awakened the eagles from their afternoon slumbers on the crags of Storm Mountain and echoed back from the slopes of the nearby hills in joyful cadence greeted the announcement. And it was not alone the friends of the chosen lady that joined in the heartfelt applause, but everyone that had waited with anxiety the outcome of the contest which had aroused more than local interest, and the less fortunate contestants added their voices to the tumult which arose in homage to their fortunate sister.

The coronation took place at the reception room of the Cabin Hotel at 9 o’clock and the ceremony which gave Routt and Moffat counties a sovereign worthy of the Empyrean dignity was quietly impressive and left an impression with witnesses that will remain as one of the treasured moments of their lives.
All was in readiness at 9 o’clock, and at a signal the Steamboat Concert Band heralded the coming of the queen with the anthem so dear to the hearts of every son and daughter of Liberty, “America.” Down the grand stairway came the procession, twelve little maids as ribbon bearers who formed an aisle from the royal chamber to the thrown. In white and pink with happy, radiant faces they made a fitting cortege for the queen-to-be who was to follow.

A hush fell over the waiting throng as the queen, who seemed ethereal in her slender, stately bounty entered the room and proceeded to the thrown. … And the illusion was not dispelled by the quiet voice of the master of ceremonies, Rev. George R. McDowell, who addressed the queen, kneeling at the throne: “Gladys Starr, by the authority conferred upon me, I crown thee Queen Gladys Anita of the mid-winter tournament of the Steamboat Springs Ski Club of the state of Colorado,” and with these words the people knew that a queen had been crowed to reign over the Empire of Northwest Colorado until another year has brought another carnival and, perhaps, another queen.

Following the coronation the queen gave to each of the winners of prizes during the carnival the trophies won by them, and the distribution of prizes was followed by speechmaking by many, including the distinguished guest of the evening, the champion ski jumper of the world Ragnar Omtvedt. This was followed by speeches by Carl Howelsen, who offered much good advice to local skiers, and also by talks by Anders Haugen and Lars Haugen.

This image shows a profile of Miss Gladys Starr, who was the first queen of the Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival. A silhouette of this image appeared in the Oak Creek Times on Feb. 24, 1916.
Museum of Northwest Colorado/Courtesy photo

The crowd finally dispersed and the evening was given over to a grand ball in honor of the queen. The maids of honor who attended to the queen were the next in order in the contest and they were attired in white gowns, lavender and pink. They carried baskets of floral favors on their arms and the color scheme was especially pleasing.

The queen was attired in a beautiful imported gown of black (illegible), embroidered in gold over white satin. Her robe was purple velvet, trimmed with (illegible) and she carried a shower bouquet of white roses. Queenly, indeed, was her appearance as she gracefully accepted the honor, which the people of the Northwest Empire had bestowed upon her, and a fair queen could not have been found. An unassuming and beautiful dignity was the chief charm, and it was a pleasure and a privilege to be one of the fortunate ones who witnessed the crowning.

The arrangements and appoints for the coronation could not have been improved upon and this was due to the efforts of the committee of ladies in charge. … Nothing was left undone and the entire affair suffered not a moment’s halt to mar the impressiveness of the occasion.

The first queen of the 1916 Winter Carnival, Gladys (Starr) Gross, was again part of the Winter Carnival festivities in February 1963 when she returned to Steamboat to participate in the Pageant of Queens.
Museum of Northwest Colorado/Courtesy photo

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