The way of the West

Museum of Northwest Colorado offering new book on Old West tales

A single lane dirt road greets readers as they begin a journey through Northwest Colorado's rich history.

The image of a rough and worn path through town, captured in Frances Williams painting, titled "Craig 1895," adorns the cover of the Museum of Northwest Colorado's new book, "Tales of the Old West Retold."

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The area's rich western past is the subject of C.A. Stoddard's recently published work, now available at the museum for $18.95. The stories are set in Craig, Browns Park, Meeker, the Little Snake River Valley and Hayden.

Laid out in chronological order of newspaper excerpts and commentary, the book provides tales of historical area figures such as Tom Horn and the Settlers.

"The book is an early glimpse into the history of Moffat County and the huge function that the newspaper had as the only source of information for the community," museum director Dan Davidson said.

The late Stoddard, the editor and publisher of the Craig Empire-Courier, was known as a dedicated chronicler of Northwest Colorado news and events.

In the winter of 1956-57, he used his experiences with the pioneers to begin writing the book.

In honor of Stoddard's passion for providing news for the community, Stoddard's son and daughter-in-law Chuck and Joann Stoddard, funded the book's publishing. Their support encouraged the museum to contribute to the project.

The museum's Janet Gerber, Davidson and Shannan Koucherik made manuscripts of Stoddard's writing and edited the book.

This task was not always easy.

Gerber said she was driven to capture the essence of the West and would settle only for perfection.

"It took us one year to complete," Gerber said. "Editing was critical in this publication in order to give the community the correct message."

That year has ended and the newly printed pages of "Tales of the Old West retold" wait in anticipation to engage Craig residents.

Proceeds will benefit the museum. The benefits will be the financial base for future publications planned for the upcoming year.

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