Tales from the Tread: Luekens family exhibit opens | SteamboatToday.com

Tales from the Tread: Luekens family exhibit opens

Candice Bannister and Katie Adams
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
The Luekens family.
Tread of Pioneers Museum/Courtesy photo

It’s election season and a fitting time to honor one of Steamboat Springs’ most impactful members and politicians, Claude Luekens Sr. Luekens is celebrated as a member of the Luekens family in the museum’s current exhibits series: Foundations of Steamboat. The exhibit series honors local families who have made significant contributions to Routt County.

For over 50 years, the Luekens family served the Steamboat Springs community as civic leaders, charter members and volunteers. Led by Claude Luekens Sr., with his wife Grace, their son Claude Jr., Claude Sr.’s brother Auburn and a local network of extended family members, including the Todd, Elkins and Remington families, the Luekens family has shaped the history and development of our community and region. We invite you to discover the family’s story and contributions in the museum’s newest exhibit.

Originally from Arkansas, the Luekens family came to Steamboat Springs in 1913. The family was seeking high-altitude health benefits for Mary, Claude’s sister.

Claude was elected to Town Council in 1927, and in 1932, he followed the advice of businessman F.M. Light and ran for town mayor. His victory led to reappointments and 16 years of service as mayor. During this time, he also served as a Routt County commissioner from 1935 to 1958, making him one of the only politicians in town history to hold both positions at the same time.

If you go

What: Foundations of Steamboat: The Luekens Family Exhibit

When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday

Where: Tread of Pioneers Museum, 800 Oak St.

Cost: Free every day for all Routt County residents

More info: TreadOfPioneers.org

The complete list of clubs, many of which he was a charter member, and the committees to which Claude dedicated his time are too numerous to list. Some include: Lions Club, Sequoia Club, American Legion, Routt County Selective Service Board, Tread of Pioneers Museum and the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. He was a 35-year member of the Steamboat Chamber of Commerce, and Claude held state-appointed positions in addition to his local work, as he was a leading champion for Steamboat growing as a year-round tourist destination.

His impact on town and county development included making improvements and leading projects, such as roads, the bathhouse (now Old Town Hot Springs), rodeo grounds and Howelsen Hill. He fought for continued daily railroad service from Denver to Steamboat Springs.

In 1923, at a time when cars were not yet widely used in the county, Claude sold Hupmobile cars. The following year, he added Chrysler-Plymouth to his agency. His brother Auburn Luekens joined the business in 1929, and for 37 years, the two ran Luekens Motors.

Claude was married to Grace Remington, who was a local bank clerk, homemaker, devoted wife and active member of service to the community.

Claude Luekens’ foresight, vision and dedication to the betterment of his community formed the foundation of Steamboat Springs and its economic growth and development as a tourist destination. This museum exhibit serves as a remembrance and celebration of Claude and his family for their contributions and service.

Candice Bannister is executive director and Katie Adams is curator of the Tread of Pioneers Museum.

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