Steamboat Springs, Colorado
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Tales from the Tread Column

“Tales from the Tread” columns appear in the Steamboat Today the first and third Wednesday of each month. The columns are written by the museum’s Executive Director, Candice Bannister, or a guest author, and feature people, places, and events in Routt County history as well as museum programs and events. Click on the titles below to read the full length articles on the newspaper's website.

Click here topmuseum@sprigsips.com to submit story ideas or share your feedback on these columns.

Exhibit celebrates 50 years
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
The Tread of Pioneers Museum has spearheaded an exhibit partnership to celebrate the 50th anniversaries of two of Steamboat Springs’ finest institutions: Colorado Mountain College and Bud Werner Memorial Library. The exhibit, “A Legacy of Learning” provides a historical perspective of these institutions, from their founding to the thriving programs and services they provide the community today.

Taste of Routt County history
Monday, February 13, 2017
“If you could make a good pie, you always had someone who was willing to thresh grain for you, brand cattle for you, or help in the hayfield.

Celebrate Winter Carnival
Monday, January 30, 2017
Louisville, my hometown, has the Kentucky Derby. New Orleans, the city of my alma mater, Tulane University, has Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest.

From bear hunt to Broadway
Tuesday, January 3, 2017
More than 100 years ago, Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp moved to the woods of Strawberry Park in Steamboat Springs. At 7 p.m. Jan. 10, join the Tread of Pioneers Museum at the Chief Theater to discover the legendary Perry-Mansfield in the original 1979 documentary, “A Divine Madness.”

Pioneer Christmas memories
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Mary Crawford King left a written record of the first Christmas gathering in Steamboat Springs in 1877. Those who attended were Mr. and Mrs. James H. Crawford, their children and Mr. and Mrs. S.D.N. Bennett.

Winter Film Series returns
Thursday, December 8, 2016
Back by popular demand, the Tread of Pioneers Museum’s Winter Films Series returns to the historic Chief Theater at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month December through March. Everyone’s invited to come out of the cold and into the warm and cozy Chief Theater to see all the fascinating films we have in store for you.

Give together on Colorado Gives Day
Monday, November 14, 2016
Colorado’s largest one-day online giving event is coming up, and local nonprofits need your support. On Tuesday, Dec. 6, thousands of donors will #GiveTogether to support Colorado nonprofits, while making a difference in their communities and state. Colorado Gives Day is an annual statewide movement to celebrate and increase philanthropy in Colorado through online giving.

County boasts haunted history
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Halloween is just around the corner, so what better history to keep alive than the stories of spirits who haunt the historic buildings of downtown Steamboat Springs? The Tread of Pioneers Museum hosts a few ghosts inside our own walls, but many are curious about potential hauntings and ghost stories of our town.


An opportunity to do something remarkable

Wednesday, October 5, 2016
Steamboat Springs — Steamboat Springs is well known for its distinctive western hospitality, where real-time cowboys co-mingle with Olympic skiers. The connection between our ranching and skiing heritage is authentic — evident more than a century ago when Carl Howelsen introduced recreational skiing to this agricultural community.


What do you collect?

Tuesday, August 2, 2016
As one of the “keepers” entrusted with preserving the vast collections of the Tread of Pioneers Museum, I was intrigued by the July 24, 2016 New York Times article by Michelle Dozois titled “What You Collect: The Ordinary and the Odd.”


Museum hosts History Happy Hours

Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Join the Tread of Pioneers Museum at 5:30 p.m. the first Tuesday of each month at Butcherknife Brewery, 2875 Elk River Road, for a new event series titled “History Happy Hours.” The event takes the rowdy and raucous side of Routt County history out to the community and into a beloved happy hour. To sweeten the deal, each attendee will receive one free craft beer, compliments of Butcherknife Brewery.


What do you collect?

Tuesday, August 2, 2016
As one of the “keepers” entrusted with preserving the vast collections of the Tread of Pioneers Museum, I was intrigued by the July 24, 2016 New York Times article by Michelle Dozois titled “What You Collect: The Ordinary and the Odd.”


Presentation to focus on ‘Dollar-a-Day Boys’

Tuesday, September 13, 2016
“Imagine, you’re 17 years old trying to survive during the Great Depression. Life is tough in Chicago. Food is scarce, jobs are non-existent and you’ve turned to petty crime to eke out a living.”


Tour the historic Crawford Home

Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Since 1894, the stately stone mansion at 1184 Crawford Ave. has withstood the test of time, proudly perched on the hill that overlooks downtown Steamboat Springs. It stands as a testament of the strength and fortitude of Steamboat's founders, the Crawford family.


What do you collect?

Tuesday, August 2, 2016
As one of the “keepers” entrusted with preserving the vast collections of the Tread of Pioneers Museum, I was intrigued by the July 24, 2016 New York Times article by Michelle Dozois titled “What You Collect: The Ordinary and the Odd.”


Thrilling ride on snowshoes

Thursday, July 21, 2016
On the 17th of February (1890) last, I started from my cabin at the foot of Storm Mountain to make a trip to the top to see if the fur-bearing animals were still out. It is only about 10 miles to the top, and I reckoned that I could easily make it there and back in a day. Packing a slight lunch, I tied it in my belt and started.



Journey West at the Tread of Pioneers Museum

Tuesday, July 5, 2016
In 1873, the James H. Crawford family loaded up their wagons in Sedalia, Missouri, and headed to Colorado in search of a new life in the area that would eventually become Steamboat Springs.


Museum opens historic Mesa Schoolhouse

May 31, 2016
The first one-room schoolhouse in Routt County was a cabin owned by the Crawford family, and the last was the Mesa Schoolhouse. Although the Crawford cabin is long gone, the 100-year-old Mesa Schoolhouse still stands on the west side of Highway 40 south of Steamboat Springs.


Ute heritage leader to speak at library

May 17, 2016
Roland McCook Sr., great-great grandson of Chipeta, the wife of Ute Chief Ouray, is dedicated to telling the story of the Ute Nation. After living on a Utah reservation for most of 66 years, he made his home in Colorado.


Two Friends Meet

May 3, 2016
The public is cordially invited to the “Two Friends Meet” exhibit opening reception from 5 to 8 p.m. May 6 at the Tread of Pioneers Museum. The event is part of the First Friday Art Walk downtown, and the exhibit features fine art prints depicting local rancher Vernon Summer by watercolor artist Gary Hawk.


Exhibit showcases Steamboat's founding families

April 27, 2016
As the younger generation takes over and many of us (has beens — the top hands of yesterday) fade out of the picture, let us hope and pray that this vast domain the pioneers loved so dear will be the heritage of our children and grandchildren to enjoy on down through the ages.


The Tread of Pioneers

April 5, 2016
The Tread of Pioneers Museum was named after the book, “The Tread of Pioneers,” copyright 1945, by Charles H. Leckenby, longtime editor and publisher of the Steamboat Pilot. A man of the written word, Leckenby was compelled to record the facts and stories of the first 75 years of history in Steamboat Springs through his bird’s-eye-view publishing the newspaper.


Tracy and Neiman — Outlaw and Lawman

March 15, 2016
When you hear the term, “Wild West,” what comes to mind? For many, the Wild West describes the raw and untamed life in the Western part of the United States around the end of the 19th century. During this time, settlers were moving west, where the land was rough and rugged, and life was hard.


‘Legendary Ladies of the West’

March 2, 2016
March is Women’s History Month, and to celebrate the women who made a significant impact on the history of the West, the Tread of Pioneers Museum and Bud Werner Memorial Library are pairing up to host a one-of-a-kind, live performance, “Legendary Ladies of the West.”


Moonhill Schoolhouse remains community hub

February 16, 2016
Picture this: It’s the 1930s, and you have just been hired to teach in a one-room schoolhouse called Moonhill somewhere near Clark, Colorado.


The early days of Winter Carnival

February 02, 2016
In honor of the 103rd Winter Carnival, I dug into the depths of the Tread of Pioneers Museum’s rich archive and the Steamboat Pilot newspapers to share with you some of the articles describing the first Winter Carnival events that would form the foundation of a century-long tradition and an iconic symbol of the spirit of our ski heritage in Steamboat Springs.


A Taste of History

January 20, 2016
Historic cookbooks and recipes provide a unique glimpse into the lives of Colorado’s early pioneers. In comparison to today’s diverse cuisine, frontier recipes featured relatively plain foods, since few spices were available. Pioneer menus varied depending on the location and the season. Most pioneers raised livestock or hunted to ensure an adequate supply of meat.


Remembering Elaine Gay

January 6, 2015
The Yampa Valley has lost an incomparable legend — one of the greatest and most influential champions of conservation that this valley has ever seen. We owe much of the modern feel of the valley to the way this rancher fought for the landscape. She defined integrity. Time spent hearing feisty arguments and old-timer stories at her kitchen table is among my most precious memories. Elaine, you leave a hole in our collective heart.


36th annual Yule Log hunt begins Monday

December 1, 2015
As the traditions of the holiday season draw near, we hope everyone will participate in a local favorite. The 36th annual Yule Log Hunt, sponsored by the Tread of Pioneers Museum and the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, begins Monday, Dec. 7. Each weekday, a new clue will be printed in the Steamboat Today and air on local radio stations.


The Snurfer — snowboard predecessor now on display

November 3, 2015
Combine the words snow and surfing and you get “Snurfing.” This is exactly what Nancy Poppen did in 1965, when her husband, Sherman Poppen, presented a handmade Christmas gift of two skis fixed together to his 10-year-old daughter.


Jim Stanko and Jan Leslie win Leckenby and Larson awards

October 12, 2015
On Sunday, a duo of historians with deep Routt County roots were the recipients of the Leckenby and Larson awards given annually by a committee of the Tread of Pioneers Museum.


Tales from the Tread: Park dedication honors lives lost

October 6, 2015
I had the distinct honor and privilege of attending the Milk Creek Battlefield Park dedication Sept. 26 in Meeker. This site is best known as the place where Maj. Thomas T. Thornburgh was killed along with other soldiers in a battle with the Ute Indians from Sept. 29 to Oct. 5, 1879. Less known is the circumstances that led to this battle and the catastrophic losses sustained by the Ute people, losses that went far beyond the tragic deaths during those infamous days.


Mission Behind the Mission

September. 3, 2015
The Tread of Pioneers Museum’s mission is to promote an understanding and appreciation of the history of the Steamboat Springs area by collecting, preserving, exhibiting, interpreting and sharing that history and heritage. At the heart of our mission is preservation, but what does it mean to preserve history?


A Tooth for Liquor

August. 19, 2015
In 1986, the Tread of Pioneers Museum was given a rather odd gift from Guthrey Drake. The gift was a human tooth — a gold tooth, to be exact. Guthrey Drake’s father, George Drake, we are told, found the tooth in 1900 while he was searching for gold as a prospector in Hahns Peak.


Celebrate Crawford Contributions

August 5, 2015
On July 24, Tread of Pioneers Museum staff and board of directors dedicated the museum’s community room to James L. (Jim) Crawford and Anna Fang to recognize their continued support and contributions to the Tread of Pioneers Museum and our local history. The event also served as a surprise exhibit opening reception featuring the “Art of the Crawfords,” located in the newly dedicated room.


Hidden Treasure for Incorporation Day Anniversary

July 14, 2015
Many of us have basements or attics or closets full of old “stuff.” Most often these things are only meaningful to the owner and would be considered junk to anybody else. But occasionally a gem is revealed.



Ghost Mine Tour to Oak Creek

June 30, 2015
Haybro, Juniper, Edna, Keystone ... If you are new to the area, these names might not mean much to you. But to long-time residents and natives of Routt County, they harken to a coal mining era that defined the region for many years.


Celebrating Those Days of Yore

June 2, 2015
“A pioneer is one who goes on before to prepare for others who may follow. He has mighty work to perform and grave responsibilities when he is a first settler in the land. Standing paramount in the advance guard of civilization, is the sturdy character who conquers and subdues the earth … History is replete with the names and deeds of the true pioneers …” Welcome address given by John Cole of Yampa at the 1929 Pioneer Picnic — Steamboat Pilot, July 5, 1929

My Place My Home
May 20, 2015
Do you know the history of your childhood home? Could you describe how they celebrated holidays; what pioneer children contributed to the economy; and, who influenced the town’s creation? An initiative still in its infancy called "My Place, My Home" is designed to connect local kids to these local stories.

Celebrate National Apron Day
May 6, 2015
Once a staple of a woman’s wardrobe, the apron has evolved into more of an accessory. Memories of Thanksgiving dinners conjure up images of roast turkey and pumpkin pie lovingly prepared by grandma wearing her best holiday apron. Potholders and towels have replaced the apron, but for years, it was an essential part of every kitchen. Housewives not only wore aprons to protect their clothes, but also used them as an essential tool for taking hot food out of the oven, carrying fruits and vegetables, wiping dirty hands, drying dishes, and even adding a splash of style to an otherwise drab outfit.

Historic Houses of the Tread of Pioneers Museum
April 14, 2015
In 1908, Earnest Campbell built the Queen Anne style house with unique half-timbered gables on 5th and Oak streets. In 1914, Campbell sold the house to Edward H. Zimmerman, manager of the local Mutual Telephone Exchange and later the Yampa Valley Mill and Elevator Company. Edward and Mary Zimmerman had four children: Herman, Mary, Zelma, and Muriel. The family lived in the house until 1956, when the county purchased it.

Skiing History Week in Steamboat Springs
April 01, 2015
As the ski season cools down this April, major skiing related events are just about to heat up all over town. The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame, in coordination with the International Ski History Association, will present Skiing History Week Monday through April 12 in Steamboat Springs.

Celebrate Agriculture Appreciation Week
March 17, 2015
Agriculture Appreciation Week, March 22 to 29, is a time to recognize and celebrate the importance of agriculture.

In our modern world of technology, plastics, clean packaging and online shopping, we may forget that agriculture provides most everything we eat, drink, use and wear on a daily basis. National and local efforts attempt to educate millions of consumers about the importance of agriculture and ask "where would YOU be without agriculture?”

Extraordinary Eleanor Bliss
March 05, 2015
Steamboat Springs — In celebration of Women’s History Month in March, this article features an extraordinary woman in Steamboat Springs history — trailblazer Eleanor Bliss. Candice Bannister created this first-person narrative adaptation using the writings of Glenn Poulter and Christine McKelvie.

Celebrating the Winter Carnival
February 03, 2015
Louisville, my hometown, has the Kentucky Derby. New Orleans, the city of my alma mater Tulane University, has Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest.

The Summers of Sidney
January 23, 2015
In 1889, Austrian immigrant John Summer moved his large family from Empire, Colorado, to a homestead in the small town of Sidney, 8 miles south of Steamboat Springs. At that time, the town of Sidney consisted of a saloon, a post office and a few cabins.

Celebrate Howelsen Hill's Centennial
January 06, 2015
Howelsen Hill Ski Area is turning 100 years old this year — what a remarkable heritage to celebrate.

Lost Ski Areas
December 02, 2014
Steamboat Springs — For more than 50 years, skiers from all around the world have traveled to Steamboat Springs to experience our Champagne Powder, but Storm Peak was not the first ski mountain in Northwestern Colorado.

Spooky Storytelling at the Crawford Mansion
October 21, 2014
Steamboat Springs — Within 20 seconds of viewing historic footage, a newfound appreciation of Ski Town USA is unearthed.

History with the Locals
July 15, 2014
The Tread of Pioneers Museum’s 2014 Brown Bag Summer Lecture Series is up and running and is sure to deepen your love of Routt County.

Celebrate the History of the Rodeo at the 111th Cowboy Roundup Days
July 01, 2014
In the days before Steamboat Springs had a rodeo arena, Routt County’s earliest cowboys often had to rope calves and “break” horses that were not keen on humans riding on their backs.

The Surprise Summer Sleeper of Steamboat
June 17, 2014
Maybe you recently moved here. Maybe you were born here. Maybe you transplanted here and are sinking in roots. Maybe you live here seasonally. Maybe you live farther away and commute here.

“Soldiers on Skis"
May 20, 2014
Colorado’s 10th Mountain Division,” opens to the public May 29.
The exhibit, created in partnership with the Aurora History Museum, focuses on the World War II special unit and the Routt County veterans who were members of the group....

'Lost Steamboat' But Not Forgotten
April 12, 2014
The “Lost Steamboat” exhibit now is open to the public at the Tread of Pioneers Museum. The display features historical photographs of significant buildings that are no longer standing. Whether lost through fire, demolition or remodel, the buildings were an important part of the fabric of our community.

The Berry Boom
March 18, 2014
Did you know that even with our short growing season, the strawberry business flourished in Steamboat Springs between 1900 and 1916? It all started in 1900, when Lester Remington grew the soon-to-be-famous Remington berry on his land in the area now known as Strawberry Park.

Discovering Dorothy Wither
March 04, 2014
Last year, the Tread of Pioneers Museum completed its most significant project to date. The 4,200-square-foot museum expansion project provided a museum-quality collections facility for our growing collection, along with additional exhibit space for the compelling stories of our community’s heritage.

Shepherdess of the Elk River Valley
February 18, 2014
Beginning in 1918, Margaret Duncan Brown ranched alone for 47 years in the Elk River Valley of Routt County. Brown’s “indomitable spirit, her great sensitiveness, perception and philosophy of life” live in her diaries that are the foundation of the book "Shepherdess of the Elk River Valley."

Celebrate Sochi in Steamboat
February 05, 2014
Steamboat Springs — We hope you were able to join us at the Tread of Pioneers Museum during our grand opening last year to see the new facility that the community helped us build.





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