Steamboat Springs, Colorado
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Steam Rails to Ski Trails : Architectural Guide to Downtown Steamboat Springs


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Steamboat Springs is a modest town. It never had a period of explosive gold-rush growth, as so many other Colorado mountain towns did. It never added 10,000 residents in one year, never produced multimillion-dollar fortunes overnight. But if it lacked the spectacular booms, it also avoided the devastating busts that left other communities’ Main Streets in shambles. And Steamboat Springs did enjoy some distinct growth spurts. The first occurred after 1884, when town founder James Crawford (standing in the center of this photograph) and Boulder investors formed the Steamboat Springs Town Site Company. They promoted the Yampa Valley’s boundless pastures and rich coal deposits, along with the mineral springs themselves. Within a few years the city had a newspaper, bank, hotel, stagecoach line, and library, plus a few churches and a smattering of stores. Most of those 19th-century buildings are no longer here; only one — the Springs Drug Store (now Harwig Grill) at 911 Lincoln — appears in this volume.

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