Chuck Mack: Tales of Steamboat Springs, part 2

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The following was originally by Sheldon P. Purdy in Rocky Mountain Magazine, and latter copied from the Steamboat Pilot-issue on Nov. 2, 1904.

The state engineer gives the area of Routt county coal fields as 440 square miles. Northwest of Steamboat Springs is a tract if coal land with four workable seams. No. 1 is seven feet thick of bituminous coal: No. 2 is eleven feet thick of bituminous coal: No. 3 is eight feet thick of semi-anthracite coal; No. 4, the bottom seam, is fourteen feet thick and first-class anthracite. The aggregate thickness of the four seams is 40 feet. An attempt to figure out the possible tonnage value of the 440 square miles of coal land is impossible. The large block of anthracite coal on exhibition at the St. Louis World's Fair was exported from Routt County. Onyx from the quarries near Steamboat Springs has been shipped to Chicago and New York; it is of fine quality and has a wide range of color. Onyx from these quarries took first prize at the Omaha Exposition in 1898. Limestone is found in Routt County in great quantity and of excellent quality and only awaits the railroad to make the handling of lime and lime rock a paying industry.

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Marble, granite and other building stone abounds in Routt County, of excellent quality and in great quantities. The mineral resources of Routt County are practically unprospected, though valuable ores and minerals have been found in many localities, and placer mining has been profitably worked in some places.

There is no similarly rich territory in the whole of the United States without a railroad. Routt County alone contains 7,500 square miles of territory with a wealth of resources unlimited. There is, therefore, ample room for thousands of bona fide settlers. If they possess the necessary qualifications of industry and enterprise, with some capital, they cannot fail to do well.

Northwestern Colorado is still the sportsman's paradise; the streams and lakes abound with trout; the grouse and sage hen are plentiful; deer and elk are plentiful in season, and the bear and mountain lion can be found by those who, like our President Roosevelt, really hunt for them.

Although at present eighty miles from a railroad, Steamboat Springs has many advantages to make it an ideal home, schools and churches are up-to-date, the hotel accommodations are first-class, there are stores of every variety, and every business is well represented. The two newspapers are doing their share to advance the interests of their town and county.

Sheldon P. Purdy in Rocky Mountain Magazine.

Well, now you can say you have read the story of Steamboat Springs.

The spring that gave the town its name doesn't go chug, chug, chug any more. When the railroad that Steamboat Springs was patiently awaiting finally arrived in town, the blasting for the railroad right-of-way supposedly destroyed the spring. So finally Steamboat Springs got its railroad, but it lost its namesake spring in the process. The area streams around the town of Steamboat Springs are still filled with trout, and fishing is still just as good as they advertised back in 1904. Elk, deer and antelope hunters flock to the area in great numbers each fall when hunting season arrives. If any of these hunters go home empty-handed, it isn't because of the lack of game animals. The grouse and sage hen are still around and can still be hunted in season but by no means are they plentiful. Mountain lion and bear still roam the hills, so it's advisable to always be on the lookout for these critters when you're on a hiking or fishing trip. Just last summer when we were fishing one of the streams on Rabbit Ears Pass, our son Mike saw a bear. And occasionally, if things are quiet around the camp site, you can hear the mournful scream of a mountain lion in the distance.

Continued in next story.

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