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Steamboat Magazine

Historic Tour of Steamboat

12/01/2004 01:00AM ● By Anonymous

Winter 2004:

Historic Tour of Steamboat

Take a walk back in time and discover historic Steamboat Springs. A stroll through downtown reveals buildings that date back to the 1800s and nine of the area's more than 150 mineral springs.Compiled with the help of the Tread of Pioneers Museum, the main tour takes one to two hours. Parking is available in city lots and on the street.1. Tread of Pioneers Museum800 Oak St.Constructed by Ernest Campbell in 1908, this was home to the Zimmerman family from 1913-1956. In 1959, the Tread of Pioneers Museum had its beginnings in this building. This Queen Anne-style house was once located at Fifth and Oak streets, and was moved to this location in 1988. The Doc Utterback house was moved to the site in 1997, from its original location at Fourth and Oak.2. St. Paul's Episcopal ChurchNinth and Oak.Bishop Spalding started the church before the turn of the century, and the building was constructed in 1913. The one-story, steep-roofed church was built using native sandstone purchased from the Steamboat Town and Quarry Company on Emerald Mountain.3. Christian Science ChurchSeventh and OakMargaret Crawford, Steamboat's pioneer mother, was a charter member of the town's Christian Science Society organized in July 1908. The lot had been the site of the Onyx Hotel (Steamboat's second hotel), built in 1901. The log building, which continues to house the Christian Science Church, was completed in November 1934.4. Willett House445 Oak St.Doc Willett came to Steamboat from Laramie, Wyoming, in 1912 and took ownership of this house following World War I. The well-known doctor made house calls in a bear skin coat, which can be seen at the Tread of Pioneers Museum.5. Routt County Courthouse522 Lincoln Ave.The cornerstone of the courthouse was laid on Sept. 9, 1922, and the three-story building was completed in December 1923 at a cost of $122,000. The exterior walls are constructed of cream pressed brick, trimmed with pulsichrome terra cotta. The floors are finished with terrazzo marble.6. The Old Town Pub600 Lincoln Ave.Built in 1904 by Ernest Campbell, this structure was originally the Albany Hotel, one of the finest hotels catering to visitors arriving by train after 1909. From 1914-1921, the building was a hospital, remodeled and run by Dr. F.E. Willett. After the hospital relocated, the second floor became the popular Odd Fellows dance hall. The first floor served as a grocery, post office, electric store and public library from 1924-1967. In 1969 the building opened as the Cameo Restaurant, and in 1984 it became the Old Town Pub.7. First National Bank, Rehder Building ~ Eighth and LincolnThe First National Bank of Steamboat Springs, chartered in 1902, occupied a small frame structure on this site until the present building was constructed in 1905. Dakota sandstone from Emerald Mountain and handmade bricks from Trogler's local brickyard were used in the construction. The bank occupied this building from 1905-1919, when it moved across the street to a larger facility. It was used for many purposes until it reopened as the downtown branch of the First National Bank in 1994, and is noVectra Bank.8. Chief Theater813 Lincoln Ave.The Chief Theater was the second motion-picture theater to open in Steamboat. It was built by Harry Gordon, a Miami Indian chief who came to Steamboat after making a fortune mining lead, zinc, and silver in Oklahoma. The Chief was the first theater equipped to project "talkies," while its competitor, the Alden Theater (located in the present Allen's store) was limited to showing silent films.9. Steamboat Yacht Club811 Yampa St.This building served as a state fish hatchery from 1922-1941. For the next 43 years it was a cabinet shop and an indoor rifle range. In 1985 the building was enlarged and reopened as the Yacht Club Restaurant.10. Howelsen HillSeen from the footbridge at Ninth and YampaRising up steeply from the south side of the Yampa River, this section of Emerald Mountain is named for Norwegian ski jumper Carl Howelsen, the "Flying Norseman" of Barnum and Bailey's Circus. Howelsen arrived in Steamboat in 1913 and introduced the townspeople to ski jumping, launching Steamboat into a recreation industry. By the 1930s, Howelsen Hill added slalom and downhill courses, and a "boat tow" consisting of two sleds, pulled up the mountain by a cable attached to a car motor and transmission. In 1947, a chair lift to the top of Emerald Mountain was installed and was one of the longest lifts in the U.S. at that time. By 1950, a 90-meter jump was installed.11. Harwig's Grill911 Lincoln Ave.This structure dates back to the 1890s. It was originally a drug store and then a meat market. In 1908, it became the Armstrong and Kemmer Saddlery and Harness Shop. Charles Harwig purchased it in 1916, and it became Harwig's Saddlery and Western Wear, which was run by the Harwig family until 1984. Note the historic cowboy sign that stands guard over the storefront.12. Lincoln Avenue Printers / The Pilot1009 Lincoln Ave.James Hoyle began northwest Colorado's first newspaper, The Steamboat Pilot, on July 31, 1885. It was printed in a small one-room log house near the Yampa River until Hoyle and his printing press moved to a sawed log building on this site. In 1905, Charles H. Leckenby, the paper's typesetter, became an owner, and was the first of three generations of Leckenbys to run the newspaper. Four years later, the building and press burned down. This brick and stone building was constructed in fall 1909 for the newspaper printing office, which occupied the building until 1999.13. Centennial Hall/Carver Power Plant10th between Lincoln and OakIn 1900, a coal-powered plant was devised to make Steamboat the first town in Routt County to provide its residents with electricity. The steam, a by-product of the system used to create electricity, was used to heat nearby schools and residences. In keeping with Steamboat's award-winning historic preservation efforts, this building was remodeled to house city offices.14. Lorenz Building928 Lincoln Ave.This building was completed in 1893 and was originally a general store. In 1912, it became the courthouse when the county seat moved from Hahn's Peak. After 1921, the courtroom occupied the second floor, while the clerk, treasurer and jail shared the ground floor. When the present-day courthouse was completed in 1923, the building became the site of a dance hall called the Social Benefit Association or SBA. In 1958, the property was purchased by Don Lorenz.15. Thiesen Mall912 Lincoln Ave.Built in 1890, this was the site of J.W. Hugus & Co., one of the nation's first chains of general stores. It sold farm equipment, furniture, stoves, feed and gasoline in barrels, among other items, in a facility equipped with electric lights, cash carriers and other labor saving devices.16. Lyon Drug Store, Squire Building ~ 840 Lincoln Ave.Once known as the Maxwell Building, the building, built it by J.D. Maxwell, was constructed of pressed brick from Trogler's brickyard, stone trim and plate glass. It was originally heated by steam and was considered one of the finest buildings of its time. In 1947, Frank Squire became the owner. A post office occupied a room on the ground floor from 1909 to 1962. The structure has been a drug store since 1920. The first drug store to occupy this site was called the Chamberlain-Grey Drug Store and is noLyon Drug.17. F.M. Light & Sons830 Lincoln Ave.The F.M. Light family moved from Hicksville, Ohio, to Steamboat in 1905. Soon after their arrival, they purchased the lot, erected the building and secured enough merchandise to open this clothing store. The building has grown over the years after being extended and widened with the purchase of the Boys Market grocery store, which occupied half of the present day store. Light family members traveled throughout northwest Colorado and southern Wyoming, displaying their merchandise and taking orders from ranchers for western wear, hats, boots, saddles and equipment. The retail store is still owned by family members, although they no longer travel to sell goods.18. The Cantina818 Lincoln Ave.Originally this structure, built with local stone from the Emerald Mountain quarry, housed a meat market, and later a grocery store. At one time, L.B. Shelburne used the basement to process lard. In the 1930s, it became the site of the Center Grocery, which boasted its use of a lift to bring merchandise to the upper floors. In 1972, The Cantina restaurant opened.19. The Furlong Building810 Lincoln Ave.This building was erected in the 1920s using stone from the Emerald Mountain quarry to frame the windows. Carl Howelsen completed the brickwork and masonry. This structure first housed a store that sold hardware, skis and furniture.The Extended TourA. and B. Crawford Houses1238 and 1184 CrawfordThe second and third houses built by the Crawfords are still standing. The second home, at 1238 Crawford Ave. (on 12th St.), was built in 1886 from native lumber from the Suttle Mill. The bay windowas added later to accommodate their daughter's wedding. The large stone house, at 1184 Crawford Ave., was built in 1894 of stone from the Emerald Mountain quarry. The Crawford family occupied this house until the death of Mrs. Crawford in 1939.C. Bud Werner Library / Cabin Hotel1289 Lincoln Ave.The Cabin Hotel was built on this site in 1909 to serve passengers coming to Steamboat by train. It was one of the most luxurious hotels in the country and the largest in northwest Colorado. In 1939, it burned to the ground in less than one hour, claiming two lives. Actual footage of this fire can be seen at the Tread of Pioneers Museum. In 1967, a library was built in its place to honor Wallace "Buddy" Werner (1936-1964), a three-time Olympic skier and local athlete who died in an avalanche in Switzerland.D. The Depot1001 13th St.The building was completed in 1909, shortly after the Moffat Line reached Steamboat in December 1908. The train provided passenger service until 1968. It was also the largest cattle shipping center in the country at one time. The Depot, constructed of local stone and brick brought in by rail, was originally painted a pea green. This building nohouses the Steamboat Springs Arts Council and the Eleanor Bliss Center for the Arts.Springs TourE. The Heart Spring / Bathhouse136 Lincoln Ave.The Heart Spring was a favorite summer encampment for the Yampatika Utes before the Crawford family settled in the valley. The hill behind the Heart Spring is reputed to have been the site of the last battle between the area's Arapaho and Utes. In 1887, the Crawfords built a log bathhouse at this location for their own enjoyment. In 1909, it was replaced by a large stone bathhouse with indoor and outdoor pools fed by the spring. The natural bicarbonates and lithium found in the springs' warm waters continue to provide bathers with a stimulating experience in pools maintained by the Steamboat Springs Health and Recreation Association.F. Iron Spring12th and LincolnThe Ute Indians once used the colored mud from this spring for various ceremonies. In 1875, the Crawford family arrived and built a log cabin just above the spring. The Crawfords found many uses for the spring water, including "iron water lemonade," which Lulita Crawford Pritchett describes in her classic book, The Cabin at Medicine Springs.G. Sulphur Spring / Sweetwater Spring / Lake Spring / Soda Spring13th and LincolnSulphur Sspring is the most fragrant of the springs with its odiferous sulphur gas. It was regarded by the Utes as having curative powers. On several stones, you will find the rings used by early settlers to tether their horses. The pond is fed by numerous springs, including Sweetwater Spring. Soda Spring, under the gazebo, was a favorite of Cabin Hotel guests who used its water for lemonade.H. Steamboat Spring, Black Sulphur Spring, Narcissus / Terrace Springs13th and Lincoln (across river from library)The once geyser-like Steamboat Spring used to make a puffing sound that reminded early settlers of a steamboat giving our town its name. Black Sulphur Spring has turned a dark, inky color as nature has continuously reduced its hydrogen sulfide to sulfur. A feyards further up the river, you'll find the Narcissus and Terrace springs. The mud from these springs was once regarded as an effective treatment for skin disorders.I. Lithia SpringLithia Spring and Moffat (about a 10-minute walk on 13th from Lincoln)The milky waters of the Lithia Spring contain a high content of lithium, which is believed to have many beneficial and medicinal qualities. In the early 1930s, H.W. Gossard constructed the stone columns at the entrance. Prior to The Depression, he had plans to bottle the waters and call it "Miraquelle."