Tales from the Tread: Tour the Crawford House
Since 1894, the stately stone mansion at 1184 Crawford Ave. has withstood the test of time, proudly perched up on the hill that overlooks downtown Steamboat Springs. It stands as a testament of the strength and fortitude of the founders of the town Steamboat Springs, the Crawford family.
The Crawford home is the fourth local residence of this brave frontier family. James Harvey Crawford supervised the construction of the distinctive all-stone house, and he and his wife, Margaret, lived in the house a total of 44 years before their deaths in the home.
After the Crawford children sold the house in 1950, four different families owned the house over the next five decades until it was bought in 2004 by the great-grandson of James Harvey Crawford, James L. Crawford and his wife, Anna Fang.
Crawford and Fang carefully restored the home, and their efforts were rewarded with a listing on the National Register of Historic Places.[swift-facebook] The family will once again generously partner with the Tread of Pioneers Museum on Aug. 23 to offer guided tours of this magnificent local landmark. [/swift-facebook] Tours start on the half hour beginning at 4 p.m., and the last tour begins at 5:30 p.m. Cost is $5 for adults; kids under 12 and museum members are free. No RSVP or reservation is required, but space is limited.
While participants wait for their tour to begin, the character of Maggie Crawford, presented by Marianne Capra, will tell pioneer stories on the front lawn.
Current owner James L. Crawford, who will lead the guided tours, not only restored the home but also created a book that lovingly chronicles the history and the construction of the stone house titled, “The Crawford House of Steamboat Springs.” A voracious researcher and dedicated steward of his family’s legacy, Crawford has also transcribed and written over seven books and booklets about Crawford family history.
Crawford is revered as one of the most esteemed current historians on Steamboat Springs and Routt County history, and as such, is a valued member of the Tread of Pioneers Museum’s historical accuracy committee. The books can be found on Crawford’s website at http://www.crawfordpioneersofsteamboatsprings.com or in the Tread of Pioneers Museum Store.
The Crawford house is arguably the most historic and significant local landmark in Steamboat Springs due to its connection to the Crawford family and their lasting impact on the founding and development of Steamboat Springs. The home has many unique features including the sandstone walls.
“James wanted the building to last for centuries and chose sandstone from Emerald Mountain. Three-hundred and fifty tons of stone were hauled down from the quarry by wagons pulled by James’ horses. When the stone mason was finished, he was paid with those same horses,” Crawford said.
When asked what it is like to preserve such an important local landmark and family history, Crawford replied, “I started out wanting to learn all I could about my ancestors, and every step of the way has been rewarding. Through the house I have been able to feel a connection with my ancestors who died before I was born. We always have a great time showing the house to the community and talking about the Crawfords and the history of Steamboat.”
Candice Bannister is executive director of Tread of Pioneers Museum in Steamboat Springs.
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