Chuck Mack: Tales of Steamboat Springs, part 1 of 3


Sheldon P. Purdy in Rocky Mountain Magazine originally wrote the following. It was copied from a Nov. 2, 1904, issue of the Steamboat Pilot.

Steamboat Springs, the principal town of Routt county, with its present population of nearly 1,000, is destined to soon become not only the largest in northwestern Colorado but one of the greatest health resorts In the United States. With the advent of the railroad, now fast building that way, new enterprises of every description will develop.


At present, the way to reach Steamboat Springs is by way of Wolcott, Colo., via the great scenic line of the world, the Denver & Rio Grande railroad, through Colorado Springs, Pueblo, the world-famous Royal Gorge, Leadville, the city of the clouds and down Eagle river canon.

The 80-mile stage ride from Wolcott to Steamboat Springs pre--sents a vast view of scenic beauty; every mile opens up something new and inter--esting.

Up rocky hills, through forests of spruce and pine, down through valleys and meadows and along the banks of the Grand and Bear Rivers. Every breath of mountain air is exhilarating and healthful; the cozy ranch houses and fields of grain present a scene of pastoral comfort.

At an altitude of 6,780 feet, Steamboat Springs lies near the foot of the western range, in the valley of the Bear River, surrounded and protected on all sides by the mountains. It has a climate un--surpassed: the summers are cool and pleasant; the winters are clear and cold with plenty of snow for sleighing. The chief attraction will be its mineral springs, greater in quantity and variety than those of any other section of the state: in fact, no spot in the world has such a variety of such high medicinal qualities.

There are soda springs of many varieties, some with water clear and cold, others with water of milky whiteness, springs with warm water and springs with water hot enough to boil eggs in a very few minutes, iron springs and one that is known as the bitter spring. Across the river is what is known as the deer lick springs, where, nearly every evening the past summer a fine buck deer with doe and fawn has been seen to come and drink.

Near the south end of the county bridge is the spring that gave the town its name. The water gushes out in a stream several inches in diameter with a "chug-chug-chug" that sounds like a steamboat coming up the river.

With the advent of the railroad, new hotels and bathhouses will be built, the healing and health-giving qualities of these springs will be utilized and Steamboat Springs will soon become the Saratoga of the West.

The Denver, Northwestern & Pacific, "Moffat Line," is expected to be built through Steamboat Springs next sum--mer. Situated, as it is, in the midst of an exceedingly rich country both in agri--cultural and mineral resources, it cannot fail to have a rapid growth.

It will be the trade center for the rich farming and stock-raising country that surrounds it, and headquarters for the development of the vast mineral resources with which Routt County abounds.

The agricultural resources of Routt County are unlimited. There is an abundant supply of water from the mountain streams fed by living springs, an abundance of snow falls in the mountains, and with combined capital to build reservoirs, canals and ditches, thousands of acres of the mesas, the best land for irrigating, will be brought under cultivation.

At present, only the bottom lands in the valleys are cultivated, where very little irrigation is needed; in fact, with the heavy clay subsoil that underlies the whole Western Slope, it does not require as much irrigation as does eastern Colorado. The agricultural product of the county are oats, wheat, rye, alfalfa, timothy, potatoes and vegetables.

Immense quantities can be raised, and its farmers only await the convenience of a railroad to make farming a financial success. As a stock raising country its possibilities are unlimited; the wild grasses in the hills grow from knee to waist high, and the abundance of small springs and streams make it an ideal live stock country, while on the cultivated lands timothy hay yields from one and one-half to two and one-half tons per acre, insuring an abundance of winter feed.

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