Newly found map shows early glimpse of Craig |

Newly found map shows early glimpse of Craig

Michael Neary
Paul Knowles, assistant director of the Museum of Northwest Colorado, examines a plat map of Craig, dated 1889.
Michael Neary

— When Paul Knowles was working on a research project in the Routt County Courthouse about a year ago, he came upon a map of Craig etched in black and red ink. The document, dated 1889, was a plat map, or a map that charts details such as street names, block numbers and lot numbers of properties.

The map was created when Craig was part of Routt County, and Knowles said it was originally in Hahn’s Peak, the county seat of Routt County at the time.

Since his discovery, Knowles has become assistant director of the Museum of Northwest Colorado in Craig. When he assumed the post, he decided to see if he could start the process of bringing the map to the museum in Craig.

“To me, this is the first official document of the town of Craig,” Knowles said. “This really is kind of what started the town. It shows the first streets, the first lots.”

The map is neatly but simply crafted, with a clearly formed grid and almost no embellishment. Knowles said it appeared to be made of linen.

Dan Davidson, director of the Museum of Northwest Colorado, said the map’s description of the territory it includes — the current downtown area — remains accurate today, right down to the width of the streets.

“(About) the only thing that’s changed at all is that Main Street’s now Victory Way,” Davidson said.

Knowles noted the idea of bringing the map to Craig was met with strong support from the people in Steamboat Springs.

“They were extremely helpful and excited,” Knowles said. “They did a great job of getting (the process) started.”

Knowles worked especially closely with Tina Fry, Routt County chief deputy clerk and recorder. Knowles told Fry about the map, and Fry consulted with Routt County Clerk and Recorder Kim Bonner. Bonner then gave permission for the map to be sent to the Moffat County Clerk and Recorder, Lila Herod.

Davidson said that, because the Museum of Northwest Colorado is a county entity, the map could be transferred from the Moffat County Clerk and Recorder’s Office to the museum.

Knowles said the map will now be sent to a conservator in Denver “for conservation and preservation” and then be sent back to the museum.

In Steamboat Springs, Fry said a number of old maps are filed in the Routt County Courthouse — maps, she said, that are rarely handled.

“We’ve imaged them, so people aren’t handling those old maps anymore,” she said.

She noted the Craig plat map was one that had been stored away, out of sight, for a long time.

“It was kind of forgotten down there,” she said.

Once it was unearthed, Fry explained, officials saw no reason to keep it in Routt County since Craig was no longer part of that county.

“One hundred and twenty-seven years later,” Fry said, “it’s back home.”

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