Phippsburg celebrates 100 years |

Phippsburg celebrates 100 years

South Routt community established by Sam Perry as mining camp in 1908

Melinda Dudley

Longtime South Routt County residents Paul and Ellen Bonnifield dance in the food line Saturday at Phippsburg Community Park during the town's centennial celebration.

— Elmer Mai became Clarice Reid’s neighbor when he moved to Phippsburg in 1946. Although Mai now lives on the Front Range, he temporarily became Reid’s neighbor again Saturday, joining her for lunch at Phippsburg’s Centennial Celebration.

“Once upon a time, we were young. Now we’re both hitting 92,” Mai said.

That age makes them only eight years younger than the town they call home.

The Historical Society of Oak Creek and Phippsburg chose 1908 as the birthday of the town. Although Phippsburg has never been incorporated, 1908 was the year Sam Perry established a mining camp there, building homes, boarding houses, a pool hall and a grocery store for his miners and their families.

Phippsburg residents and people from across South Routt County turned out for the centennial celebration Saturday, from newborns still in their strollers to the town’s old-timers, enjoying music and good company. People enjoyed lunch across the park – on the grass, in the events tents and perched on the merry-go-round, balancing their plates on their laps.

“It’s great to be back. All my old friends are here, and all the young people and their children,” Mai said.

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Attendees also checked out Phippsburg Community Park’s newest attraction, a former Denver Rio Grande caboose donated to the Historical Society by the Union Pacific Railroad.

“All the kids want to climb on it,” local historian Mike Yurich said. “Even at my age, I can hardly resist.”

Local railroaders are going to restore the caboose inside and out to its former splendor, Yurich said. The Historical Society plans to “demodernize” the interior, which will include removing later additions including a shower, restoring the caboose’s original “train toilet” and installing an authentic stove from the period.

Kimberly Rossi was asked to design a special mail cancellation in honor of the centennial and was on hand Saturday, selling historic postcards and envelopes displaying her handiwork. The mail cancellation depicts a train steaming into Phippsburg, passing the Flat Tops.

“I came up with the design, and we got it made into a stamp,” Rossi said. “When I think of Phippsburg, that’s what I think of.”