Bike ride offers glimpse into Steamboat history

Lesser-known stories wind their way into tour around town

— Saturday's historic bike tour took its participants off the beaten path of the town's history, as some of the lesser-known facts about Steamboat worked their way into the presentations.

For instance, the smokestack that once stuck out of the Carver Power Plant, which is now part of Centennial Hall, fell nearly a half-dozen times in the plant's early years, forcing passersby to make a wide turn around the building, said Jerry Nettleton, the chair of the city's Historic Preservation Advisory Commission.

The windows in one of the three Burroughs houses were caulked shut and one of the windows had bullet holes in it when Assistant Police Chief Art Fiebing moved in a few years ago.

Fiebing also had a basketball court in the living room of the historic structure when he moved in, though his wife eventually made him tear it down.

The log cabin-style Burroughs houses had been owned by the writer John Burroughs, whose grandson still lives in one of them.

Maggie Crawford, the wife of the city's founder, was a Christian Scientist and helped start the church in Steamboat, said the Christian Science Church's First Reader Sally Wither.

The tour wound through Old Town Steamboat from Howelsen Hill, where ski and rodeo supervisor Jeff Nelson recounted to the participants the history of the hill and the Norwegian adventurer who first made it famous. About 15 people, most of them from Steamboat, showed up for the tour.

The bike ride was held in conjunction with Colorado's Historic Preservation Month, which has been celebrated in Steamboat with a Historic Routt County awards ceremony at the Mesa Schoolhouse and the painting of the ranch house on the Legacy Ranch.

On Friday, the city of Steamboat Springs and Historic Routt County will receive a Colorado Preservation Inc. award for establishing partnerships in preservation, said Laureen Schaffer, the city's historical preservation specialist.

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