Donations aid newspaper preservation

— An effort that began more than a year ago to digitize and make available on the Web all of Routt County's historical newspapers finally has the funding it needs to proceed. The $45,500 project is being conducted by the Bud Werner Memorial Library and was made possible through organization grants and private donations.

The newspapers will be added to the Colorado Historic Newspaper Collection and made available through its Web site, www.coloradohistoricnewspapers.org. Routt County newspapers will be added to a collection that includes 107 newspapers published in Colorado from 1859 to 1930. Newspapers come from 60 cities and 40 counties throughout the state, which were published in English, German, Spanish or Swedish. The collection contains more than 371,000 digitized pages from these newspapers.

According to Alysa Selby, reference librarian at Bud Werner Memorial Library, the digitization effort began in May 2006 when Nancy Crawford Rosi, a descendent of James Harvey Crawford, a Steamboat Springs founder, found a collection of old newspapers in a cardboard box. Included in the box was the very first issue of the Steamboat Pilot, published July 13, 1885, and copies of several issues previously thought to have been lost forever.

The Crawford family asked the library to support its efforts to add its newspapers to the Colorado Historic Newspaper Collection, donated $5,000 to get the project started and promised $10,000 more if the library could raise the same amount from private donors.

The Yampa Valley Com-

munity Foundation donated $7,640 to digitize the Routt County Republican, a Hayden and West Routt newspaper. The library partnered with the Tread of Pioneers Museum and received a $10,575 Museum and Heritage Fund grant from the county to digitize the Routt County Sentinel, which was a direct competitor with the Steamboat Pilot from Oct. 5, 1900, to Oct. 28, 1927.

"To me, the Routt County Sentinel is the most compelling newspaper because it will offer us a perspective of Routt County's history that has never been available to the citizens of our community," Selby said.

The digitization of the Steamboat Pilot is being paid for with a $8,755 grant from the Dolph Simons Family Foundation. The Simons family owns the Steamboat Pilot & Today.

South Routt newspapers The Yampa Leader and Oak Creek Times are being funded by $6,725 in donations made in memory of Dee Richards, former Pilot editor and local historian.

All of the historic newspapers are in Israel being digitized, and the library expects them to be available online in November.

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