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Steamboat Magazine

Local Knowledge: Marianne Capra

02/20/2015 04:33PM ● By Christina Freeman

Photo courtesy Dan Kohler.

Local historian Marianne Capra has been working with the Tread of the Pioneers Museum for over a decade. She is the outdoor tour guide, creator of school programs and head of the Haunted Mansion Tour (a not-to-be missed annual pre-Halloween weekend event set in the 1894 Crawford family mansion).

If visitors would like to take a self-guided tour in spring, what do they need?

Highlights and a map of the historic walking tour can be found on pages VG 32-33.

What can you expect from taking a guided tour?

We have the Olympic Heritage Walking Tour, the Downtown Historic Walking Tour and the Ethno-botanical Tour. We delve into the history of the people who inhabited buildings we pass, through photos and quotes to help people vividly imagine life here between 1875 and 1925.  Plus I weave in bits of natural history. No tour is ever the same.

Do you have any favorite tour stops?

The original town square, which was not on Lincoln Avenue, but on Pine Street between Seventh and Eighth streets. I love this stop because it's where it all began with the original school, library and church. These buildings ooze the character of this town.

Favorite character from the valley's history?

I'm spellbound by Margaret Duncan Brown aka the Shepherdess of Elk River Valley. She ranched cattle and sheep and homesteaded alone up near Clark, defying the odds against her upbringing and cultural norms of the time, (1918 to 1960s).  She possessed buckets of grit –physically, mentally and emotionally. 

Most surprising facts?

When Ragner Omtvedt broke the world ski jumping record on Feb. 23, 1916, on Howelsen Hill, he did it temporarily blinded. The water froze in his eyes midway through the jump, and he landed without being able to see the ground. This feat put Steamboat Springs on the global map among European ski jumpers. On Jan. 11, 2015, The New York Times travel section listed Howelsen Hill as 19th in their 52 must-see places, proving the legacy lives on.

Funniest question you've ever been asked?

What do you think your ancestors James & Margaret Crawford would say about the legal sale of recreational, edible marijuana in Steamboat Springs?