Rich mountain history presented with beer, recipes, hot springs, exhibits, tours & more, by Candace Bannister
There is more than one way to deliver a rich slice of the history of Steamboat Springs. The Tread of Pioneers Museum specializes in dusting off the stories of people, places, and happenings in Routt County history and sharing them in unique ways with local partners.
1. Tread of Pioneers Museum – Explore a treasure trove of Steamboat Springs history by browsing and interacting with displays about Native Americans, early settlers, development of the local ski industry, local Olympians, ranching and much more. Introduced just in time for the summer season are the Pioneer Kids Bedroom: Hands-on Discovery and Staking Their Claim: Pioneer Settlement in the Yampa Valley exhibits.
2. Brown Bag Summer Storytelling Series – Hear about history straight from the locals who lived it with topics such as Pioneer Women: A Back Story from Four Families, Old Town Hot Springs Then & Now, and identifying historical photos. This free series is held on Fridays, noon to 1 p.m., from June 30 – Sept. 1 at Tread of Pioneers Museum.
3. History Happy Hour – Gather at Butcherknife Brewing Company’s tap room for History Happy Hour to sip and savor stories and mysteries from the rowdy and raucous side of Routt County history. Held once a month from October through April, this is a free event organized by Tread of Pioneers Museum that includes one complimentary craft beer for attendees 21 and over.
4. A Taste of History – This unique winter series is all about locals sharing historic cooking methods, recipes and food tastings. Topics like Routt County Pie & Coffee and Routt County Soups are addressed on the third Friday of January, February, and March at noon in the museum’s community room. For example, this past March, soups were made from Routt County family recipes (including some using local game) and the history of soups and their importance to Routt County families, cowboys, and ranchers was shared. There is no cost to attend A Taste of History.
5. Town of Olympians – Steamboat Springs has produced more winter Olympians than any other town in North America, 88 in total. Learn more about the town’s Olympic heritage during Tread of Pioneers Museum’s free Olympic Heritage Tour, an easy walking tour on Tuesdays, 9 – 10:30 a.m., from June 27 – Aug. 29. Also visit the museum’s Olympian Tribute Display on the second floor of Thunderhead Lodge (upper gondola building) at Steamboat Resort.
6. Hot Springs Haven – Long before Steamboat Springs was known for its world-class ski resort, the 150 geothermal hot springs that dotted the landscape were revered among Native Americans and pioneers alike. In fact, it was a bubbling spring that inspired the name of the town. Today, Old Town Hot Springs and Strawberry Park Hot Springs offer the chance to soak and relax day or night, and the Mineral Springs Walking Tour offered by Yampatika every Wednesday at 9 a.m. during the summer dives into the curative properties of the springs, why Steamboat was slated as a world-class spa destination, and more.
7. Historic Mesa School located at 33985 Highway 40 is an iconic turn-of-the-century, one-room schoolhouse where visitors can learn about toys and recess games from days gone by, Routt County school history and more during the museum’s open houses on June 28, July 21, and Aug. 9. Kids are invited to Pioneer Days also at the Mesa school–a free event featuring hands-on activities and demonstrations on June 16 and July 19.
8. Walking, Driving & Biking Tours – In addition to the Olympic Heritage Tour, Tread of Pioneers Museum also offers free guided Downtown Historical Walking Tours on Thursdays, 9 – 10:30 a.m., from June 29 to Aug. 31. Highlights include downtown historic buildings, stories of the town’s founding and early settlers, and insights into the original town square, power plant, newspaper building, courthouse and more.
If touring on two wheels and on your own sounds more appealing, download the historic places bike tour guide created by the City of Steamboat Springs and ride by the Seventh Street District, Mesa School, and many other historic landmarks.
9. A best kept local’s secret is Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp. On summer evenings, experience nationally renowned dance, theater, and musicals on intimate and historic stages nestled in stunning Strawberry Park.
10. Experience the creative side of this unique mountain community in more than a dozen local art galleries and the Eleanor Bliss Center of the Arts, located in the historic train depot built in 1908.
To learn more about Cultural Heritage in Steamboat Springs, click here.