Tales from the Tread: People Saving Places | SteamboatToday.com

Tales from the Tread: People Saving Places

Arianthé C. Stettner
Tales from the Tread
The newly rehabilitated and relocated Arnold Barn is shown during a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Tread of Pioneers Museum/Courtesy photo

In May 2005, the National Trust for Historic Preservation launched its annual Preservation Month awareness campaign.

This year’s theme is “People Saving Places.” Let’s give a high-five to the people and organizations that are saving places in Routt County.

Behold the blue “People Saving Places” banner installed over Lincoln Avenue this month. Designed by local nonprofit Historic Routt County, the banner shows familiar historic landmarks that have been saved in Routt County. These buildings and structures would have been lost if it weren’t for the efforts and resources of those who worked to preserve them for future generations.

Crossan’s M&A Market, built in 1903, had been closed for nearly 50 years when Yampa purchased it in 2006. Friends of Crossan’s rallied to save the building with sweat equity and creative fundraising.

The group partnered with Historic Routt County to provide additional capacity for the project. Today, the building proudly serves as Yampa’s Town Hall and Visitor Center. In 2020, Crossan’s was honored with Colorado’s prestigious Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation, the state’s highest historic preservation honor.

The Mesa Schoolhouse is a familiar sight at the base of Rabbit Ears Pass. It was neglected for decades until a group of volunteers from Historic Routt County joined forces with many of the school’s former students and the community to restore the building as an authentic schoolhouse.

After the project was completed, the property was donated to the City of Steamboat Springs in honor of the city’s centennial in 2000. The schoolhouse is available to rent from the city for private gatherings.

The Arnold Barn was deteriorating in a parking lot at the base of the ski area. In 2016, a group of citizens and heritage organizations raised the public’s awareness to “Save Arnold Barn.” Their activism and support inspired a public-private partnership to relocate, stabilize, and maintain the barn. The restored landmark now welcomes visitors to the ski area.

The Hahns Peak Lookout, built by the Forest Service between 1908 and 1912, sits at 10,839 feet in North Routt County. The structure was a fire lookout until the early 1950s when fire management techniques changed and the lookout was no longer needed.

The extreme weather, lack of maintenance, and vandalism had taken their toll on the structure. By 2014, the popular hiking destination was listed as one of Colorado’s Most Endangered Places by Colorado Preservation Inc. Historic Routt County partnered with the USDA Forest Service, HistoricCorps, the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps and many volunteers to restore the lookout and to install modern lightning protection. In 2018, the Lookout was celebrated as a “SAVE.”

Kudos to people who maintain and care for their historic homes and buildings throughout the county. Not only are they saving places, but they are supporting sustainability.

Historic Routt County and the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council both promote the preservation of older buildings as one way to address climate change, energy efficiency, and reduce construction waste. After all, “the greenest building is the one already built.”

Kudos as well to the more than 150 property owners who have documented and nominated their homes, ranches, and buildings to the Steamboat Springs, Routt County, Colorado, and/or National Historic Registers. They, too, are People Saving Places.

Last but not least, a high-five to the Tread of Pioneers Museum for its ongoing work to celebrate, educate, and preserve the stories and artifacts of the people and places of Steamboat Springs and Routt County.

Together, we are People Saving Places!

Arianthé C. Stettner, Historic Routt County Board Emeritus.

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