Election Day in Routt County has been an important day in the region since our first elections were held in 1877. Formal government came to Northwest Colorado in 1877, the year that Routt County was officially formed. General elections were held the first Tuesday in October of every year. Much of our early elections, 1877 through 1912, focused on the location of the county seat. Voters cast ballots four times regarding the location of the county seat. Circumstances regarding availability of government officials, population numbers and transportation resulted in the relocation of the Routt County seat from Hayden (served as the seat from 1877-1879), to Hahns Peak (served from 1879-1912) and finally to Steamboat Springs.
Following the 1912 election, the Steamboat Pilot printed: “Next Monday Steamboat Springs will become officially the county seat of Routt County. This will close a contest of more than a quarter of a century. The people have voted four times on the question of the removal [of the county seat] and in an attempt to effect removal by law, a case was once taken to the supreme court of the state.”
A brochure publicizing the benefits of living in Steamboat Springs described the courthouse in this way: “Routt County’s new courthouse is built of reinforced concrete. . .The exterior walls are of cream tapestry pressed brick trimmed with pulsichrome terra cotta, and the floors of the corridors are finished in terrazzo, a polished monolithic surface. . . Simple and dignified in design, the entire structure is one of beauty, permanence and economical construction. Exclusive of furnishings, it represents a cost of $122,000.”
Since its construction, the courthouse has served as the county’s epicenter for elections. From inside some of the “most beautiful rooms in Northwest Colorado,” county officials have professionally and accurately carried out vote counts and results for nearly a century. Today, we honor and celebrate this important day (and as someone who lives and works in the town of Steamboat Springs, I should thank those past voters who made it so I don’t have to drive all the way up to Hahns Peak to cast my vote!).