Group pursuing grant to restore stage stop |

Group pursuing grant to restore stage stop

— Historic Routt County is applying for an $86,000 grant to restore the Rock Creek Stage Stop near Toponas.

The preservation group sent the application to the Colorado State Historic Fund on Monday. Local preservationists are certain that they will receive some amount money from the state, if not the entire grant request.

“We know we’ll get something, we just don’t know how much,” Steamboat Springs grant writer Winnie DelliQuadri said.

The stage stop qualified for a Preservation Priority Grant when it was one of nine “endangered sites” named to the Colorado Preservation List in February. Sites do not compete for Preservation Priority grants; instead, funds are specifically set aside for the endangered places.

If Historic Routt County receives the full $86,000 requested, the floors, roof, doors, walls and windows of the stage stop will be replaced.

“Basically, we’re just asking for stabilization for this fall so it can make it through the spring,” said Laureen Schaffer, a preservation specialist for Historic Routt County.

The restoration will be costly in part because of the remoteness of the site and in part because of the higher construction prices in Routt County, she said.

Part of the grant would go towards putting a historical marker on the site and paying for interpretive tours of the historic building.

The tours and the marker are important because they will inform people of the historical significance of the site and educate oblivious hikers so they don’t do anything destructive to the building, Schaffer said.

Visitors have done some inadvertent harm to the stage stop. The 120-year-old building, for example, shows evidences that someone made a fire in it, and parts of the structure are damaged, Schaffer said.

Historic Routt County will find out in June how much money it will get from the state grant, DelliQuadri said.

That’s a special interest to some south Routt locals, Yampa resident and area historian Paul Bonnifield said. People in south Routt hold a special connection to the stage stop, he said.

For years, the site has been a place where locals would meet and have picnics. Baseball games have even been held there, he said.

“People have an attachment to it. What’s up there on Gore Pass is a special place,” Bonnifield said.

There is a mineral spring that runs near the stage stop and people go up there for that, Bonnifield said.

The Rock Creek Stage Stop was built by James P. Gates sometime in the 1880s. It was first a one-level ranch house and homestead.

Later, a second story was added after the house started being used as stage stop.

Stagecoach riders traveling to and from Steamboat Springs commonly spent the night in the building.

The stop lies in between Kremmling and Steamboat Springs. Each town is a one-day horseback ride from the stop, which made it a perfect resting point for travelers.

The site also was used as a mail drop for Wells Fargo and as the court of law for the area.

— To reach Doug Crowl call 871-4206 or e-mail

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