Name changes add touch of mythology

— In Roman mythology, Egeria was a goddess. She was a water nymph who hailed over healing springs, human laws and death. She was the queen of oak and wisdom.

Wendy Moreau, Yampa's volunteer museum curator, said Egeria was the first goddess thought of by Yampa's earliest settlers in the 1870s when they surveyed the virgin land.

"It was idyllic. It was pristine. There was flowing water, plentiful timber and game. In a time when most of Colorado was already homesteaded, this area had not yet been touched," she said.

Moreau said all of Egeria Park -- an area of South Routt County that includes Yampa -- was named after the mythical goddess because of what she represents.

In January, Moreau and representatives from the Yampa Historical Society asked the Yampa Town Board to change the museum's and historical society's names to include Egeria.

Moreau said she began contemplating the name change after she realized how vital the Egeria area was to the economy of then-booming Yampa.

"I couldn't figure out how a town in 1904 had three thriving hotels, a hospital, two grocery stores, a salon, a drugstore and restaurants, with a population of 500 people. Then I figured out that the entire Egeria Park was supporting Yampa. It wasn't just the town itself," she said.

Now, 100 years later, Moreau said Egeria Park still is supporting Yampa.

A few years ago, Historic Routt County helped pass a mill levy for Yampa and the surrounding area to provide it with money to fund historic preservation.

Moreau said the mill levy is assessed according to the boundaries of the Yampa Fire Protection District. Those boundaries include the towns of Yampa and Toponas as well as parts of neighboring Eagle County.

"I thought that since all these communities benefit from the mill levy, we should reflect that in our name by paying tribute to the entire area," she said.

In addition to changing the name of the museum, the Yampa Town Board decided to change the name of the historical society to the Yampa-Egeria Historical Society.

Moreau hasn't heard anything about the name change.

"In this community, if they like something, nobody says anything. If they didn't like it, you'd hear about it," she said.

And because the name of the historical society changed, Yampa town employee Nora Phillips decided the society needed a new logo.

Phillips said the town is looking for a new logo for its advertising, stationery, promotional items and souvenirs for the museum and the historical society.

"We're really hoping to get a good selection of entries from kids and adults. Everyone's ideas are welcome. There are so many talented people in Yampa, it can be an interpretation of anything," she said.

Phillips said people are encouraged to use the Flat Tops as inspiration but that it is not a requirement.

"I'm really excited to see how it turns out. I think it will be fun," she said.

-- To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234 or e-mail

The entry deadline is March 31, and the winner will be announced April 16 during Yampa's Centennial celebration. The design can be in color but must reproduce clearly in black and white and in various sizes. The work must be original and cannot have been used previously. Entries will not be returned and will become the property of the Yampa-Egeria Historical Society. The winning design could be altered slightly, in cooperation with the artist, to prepare it for public use.

Participants are encouraged to use the Flat Tops in their design, but they are not required to. Text should include the name "Yampa-Egeria Historical Society." Entrants should include their name, address and phone number on the back of the entry. Entries should be mailed to Yampa-Egeria Historical Society, P.O. Box 224, Yampa, CO 80483. They also can be dropped off at Yampa Town Hall, 56 Lincoln St.

Prizes could include South Routt Bucs and items donated from various businesses.

The Yampa-Egeria Historical Society reserves the right to not select any of the submitted designs.

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