Sweet springs drew settlers, Axial school helped keep them in Moffat County
July 8, 2017
Sweet water from five springs drew people to settle the rugged area of Axial Basin in Moffat County were they raised livestock and mined minerals.
A small town named Axial grew. A mercantile, hotel and school developed to support the homestead families.
Last week when the school and school outhouse were removed from the little town, most traces of the past were also removed, except for memories.
After reading about the school in last week's Craig Daily Press Becky Rousseau emailed to say that her grandmother, Agnes Kellogg was one of the school's teachers.
Rousseau's father, Carl H. Kellogg told stories about his parents and time at the school. He passed away in 2010, leaving Rousseau with stories of the family history.
"His parents, Agnes Kellogg and Rolla Kellogg, homesteaded up near Mount Streeter that was near Axial," Rousseau said. "They had put up a cement house that collected water from a spring off of Mount Streeter, and people would come from all over for water from the spring."
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Mount Streeter was a mining community, about 3 miles north of Axial. The tradition of mining in the area continues at Colowyo Mine.
The school was one of many rural schools throughout Northwest Colorado in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
In 1892 it was part of Routt County School District 21 under superintendent John Campbell. According to State Archives, Cora Arnold was the first teacher and she was paid $50 for four months of teaching.
When Moffat County was created in 1911 out of the western portion of Routt County, Axial school joined schools in Collom Gulch, Flanders, Gossard Ranch, Saddle Mountain and Wilson Creek as part of Moffat County School District 11. It was in that era that Agnes Kellogg became one of the school's teachers.
"Grannie, Agnes Kellogg, went to Germany to finish her education and then returned to the U.S. to teach German in Oklahoma. She met Rolla in Guthrie, OK," Rousseau said.
A family friend had moved to Meeker and encouraged the couple to travel out west to homestead. They choose to settle near Mount Streeter.
It was while living in Mount Streeter in 1920-21 that Agnes taught at the schoolhouse in Axial and helped to run the hotel.
"They had to ride their horses there everyday. They took grain to feed them and had to leave them tied up during the day. In the winter, the school was downhill, so they had skies they used to ski to school," Rousseau said.
Over time the settlement dwindled. On Jan. 18, 1928, the Craig Empire newspaper reported that the mercantile had been destroyed by fire on Jan. 15. The area made the news again in 1953 when the Empire Courier reported that an Axial rancher had shoot a young man in the shoulder over a dispute about cattle.
Otherwise, relatively, little documentation exists about the school or the town.
As the Wyman Living History Museum begins work to restore it in the new location east of Craig, we ask readers to contact us with any additional information or stories about the school, teachers and students of Axial.
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education