Seventh Street home in Steamboat Springs added to historic register

Tom Ross
Erica Swissler-Hewill, city of Steamboat Springs staff consultant in the Historic Preservation Department, congratulates Gregory and Robin Schnurr on the additions of their home at 537 Seventh St. to the Steamboat Springs Historic Register
Courtesy photo

— Steamboat Springs was in the beginnings of a modest building boom and emerging from the Great Depression of the early 20th century ahead of most of the United States in the late 1930s when a modest wood frame home was built at 535 Seventh St.

The home, currently owned by Gregory and Robin Schnurr of Napa, California, was added to the Steamboat Springs Historic Register this month. The register was not created until 2009.

Many historic homes in Steamboat are known by the name of the early owners — for example, the red brick Carver House on Oak Street (now known as Elkins House), built for GH Smedley in 1898. However, that kind of family pedigree and even the precise date of construction are missing from records for the house on Seventh Street. It is believed to have been built in 1937.

The home, with multi-paned windows, has architectural design traits that suggest a classic one-room schoolhouse.

“The red-painted cladding,” and the front gabled roof are “evocative of the schoolhouse typology,” a researcher wrote about the house in 2002 during preparation of the historic inventory of Old Town Steamboat.

The inventory also cites the Steamboat Pilot in explaining how the late 1930s and early 1940s marked a return to prosperity in America with automobiles supplanting railroad trains as the dominant form of transportation:

“While most of the country was still feeling the effects of the lingering economic depression, 1939 was a banner year for local builders. Construction began on the Hotel Harbor in 1939. In addition, a service station was constructed at 10th and Lincoln, a concrete block manufacturing plant opened (employing five), and the WPA-financed school gymnasium was completed. Several ‘modern’ new homes were constructed throughout town.”

If in fact the home at 535 Seventh St. was built in 1937, it preceded by two years another significant post-depression era commercial building on Lincoln Avenue that continues to flourish. The original Safeway building at 744 Lincoln Ave. at the corner of Eighth Street is owned by Steve Nelson and has long been occupied by Straightline outdoor sports.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1

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