Chuck Mack: Tales of early days: Part 1 |

Chuck Mack: Tales of early days: Part 1

Chuck Mack

When I first found this article in the June 4, 1913, Steamboat Pilot, I thought how wonderful it was that I happened to find it in 2008, the year of Craig’s 100th birthday.

After reading the article, I left it word for word the way it was in the Steamboat Pilot, and then I sent a copy to Dan Davidson, director of the Museum of Northwest Colorado.

Dan had the same thoughts as I; he thought it was about the most descriptive article on early Craig as any he had read.

Everything in this article is just as it appeared the way it was written for the Pilot in 1913, with side notes about where places would be in context today.

Here is part 1 of a 3-part series.

The beautiful and euphonious name of Yampa was first given to a town and post office established on the Chenney ranch two miles east of the present town of Craig. Yampa had high ambitions and wanted to be the county seat of Routt County.

(Records on file at the museum place Yampa almost where the projection screen for the old drive-in movie theater now stands, on First Street.)

The post office of Yampa was established there in 1882 and maintained for five years. Then Yampa began to dwindle and the post office was moved to the F.M. Haughey ranch a mile westward.

(The Haughey ranch was located about where the Armory building, which is now occupied by the Boys & Girls club, is located.)

After a few years, the next jump was another mile westward to the present town of Craig and the name changed. Then Harry Hernage picked up on the name for the location of his crossroads store in Egeria Park and it has remained there.

(This is present-day Yampa.)

Yampa is a beautiful Indian name given to a plant that grows profusely throughout this section. The plant has a tuberous root and was used for food by the Indians. For some unaccountable reasons it is impossible to make the name popular to designate the splendid river which flows through Routt County. People insist upon calling it “Bear” River, although the maps give it as “Yampa or Bear River.” And Yampa is by far the more attractive name.

The first location at Craig was made by Hulett and Torrance, the pioneer cattlemen of western Routt, now Moffat County. They located in 1880 the land now known as the Robert Kimberly ranch, adjoining Craig on the south. They had immense herds of cattle and their home ranch was in Axial Basin. Next was the location of W. H. Rose in May, 1883, followed the same year by John Mack, David Taylor, Donald Taylor, A. L. Ryan, Frank B. Ranney, A.M. Ranney and Archie McLaughlin.

(The Kimberley ranch would have been near what is now the entrance portion to Loudy-Simpson Park.)

The location of the town of Craig came about in the spring of 1888. W. H. Rose, who had located at the mouth of Fortification Creek five years previously, made a trip to Glenwood Springs and there met W. F. Teagarden. Mr. Rose was always enthusiastic, intensely in earnest and a firm believer in this section of the state. He described to Mr. Teagarden in glowing terms the possibilities and resources of the Bear River Valley and urged him to go there and start a store to supply the large and increasing demand for supplies, as many settlers were locating in the neighborhood.

Mr. Teagarden promised to go there and look over the field, and did so in July of that year. He was so favorably impressed that on his return to Glenwood Springs he told his partner, W. H. Tucker that he had found the ideal location for a town. Many plans were laid that year and many air castles built. The country was coming to the front quite rapidly, great herds of cattle grazed on the hills and farmers had found the soil wonderfully fertile.

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