Steamboat veterinarian trying to unearth history of little old log house |

Steamboat veterinarian trying to unearth history of little old log house

The building is located behind the Mount Werner Veterinary Hospital, just south of the Steamboat Christian Center.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — If John Rule could go back in time, he’d spend a little more time talking to the woman who showed up at his veterinary hospital about 25 years ago claiming she grew up in the little old house behind his practice.

“It was one of those days where I was just so busy I just didn’t have the time to talk,” Rule said.

Now, the little house with the blue door located at 38525 U.S. Highway 40 just south of the Steamboat Christian Center is the subject of a new history mystery in Steamboat Springs.

The building, which has been used as a storage shed in recent years, must be moved or demolished to make room for a new building that will be added to the property.

But the history of the old log structure remains unknown this week.

Rule is offering the building up for free with the hopes it doesn’t have to be demolished.

He is also hoping someone with some knowledge about the old house will re-emerge to tell its story.

“Who knows? Someone might show up and say I know exactly what that is,” Rule said.

Rule thinks the building was moved onto the property from somewhere else sometime in the 1960s, several years before he purchased the property and opened up the Mount Werner Veterinary Hospital.

He suspects it was used as a small home because it had a partition inside as well as plumbing and electrical wiring.

The local veterinarian has also spent some time scouring historic photographs of Steamboat to see if he could spot the old building in its former location.

Local historians and longtime residents have some theories about what the building might be.

Historic Routt County Executive Director Emily Katzman said earlier this week the building looked like a ranch hand bunkhouse or perhaps a teacherage.

“But honestly, we don’t know,” she wrote in an email.

Longtime Routt County resident Jim Stanko had his own ideas Friday after looking at pictures of the structure.

He initially said it looked like an old coal shed, but he also said the structure had the same characteristics of the houses that were moved from the old Mount Harris mining town to Steamboat.

A cultural resources survey of Steamboat buildings noted that several houses from Mt. Harris were sold at an auction after the coal mines closed in 1958, and several houses were moved to Steamboat and other nearby communities in the 1950s and early 1960s.

The building behind the veterinary hospital needs some work.

Rule said there’s a hole in the floor that’s been covered up by wood boards.

“Structurally though, I think it’s in good shape,” Rule said.

Do you know the history of the building?

Email your theory or information to

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10.

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