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Steamboat receives historic town records from CU Boulder Archives

Steamboat Springs Town Company manager James H. Crawford.
Courtesy/Tread of Pioneers Museum

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — After over 100 years away, records from the founding of Steamboat Springs have returned home to the Tread of Pioneers Museum. 

The Steamboat Springs Town Company collection was previously housed in the University of Colorado Boulder’s Archives but will now will made more publicly accessible at the museum in Steamboat.

The collection features one-of-a-kind materials that document the establishment of Steamboat Springs in 1884 including correspondence between the company’s principals and early town residents, annual reports and legal and financial papers from the town’s founding up to 1904. 

“The collection documents Steamboat Springs’ history and really needed to come home to the Yampa Valley to receive better use at a local archive and museum such as the Tread,” said Megan Friedel, head of the University Libraries Archives, in a news release. 

The CU Archives was gifted the collection in 1978 and has housed the materials for over 40 years.

Tread of Pioneers Museum Executive Director Candice Bannister describes the collection as “truly remarkable.” 

“Reading the letters, we have learned about the Town Company’s early struggles establishing a town,” Bannister said in a news release. “We learn about road placement decisions, plot plans and read specific language that describes the hardships and frustrations of starting a town in one of the most remote sections in the western United States.”

Historian Jim Crawford, the great-grandson of Steamboat Springs Town Company manager James H. Crawford, is also excited about the transfer of records.

“The Town Company directed the development of Steamboat for 20 years, yet locally not much is known about it or its officers Andrew Macky, James Maxwell, and Lewis Cheney,” Crawford said in the news release. “I’m hoping these records will reveal the thinking behind some of their policies, such as the no-liquor clause in deeds and the finances that ran the company.”


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