A toast to Routt County’s rowdy, raucous history | SteamboatToday.com

A toast to Routt County’s rowdy, raucous history

History Happy Hour series continues Jan. 3 at Butcherknife Brewery

Julia Ben-Asher/For Steamboat Today

Outlaw Harry Tracy to be featured at History Happy Hour event slated for 5:30 p.m. Jan. 3 at Butcherknife Brewing Co. The upcoming topic is “Crime and Conflicts in Routt County History.”





Outlaw Harry Tracy to be featured at History Happy Hour event slated for 5:30 p.m. Jan. 3 at Butcherknife Brewing Co. The upcoming topic is "Crime and Conflicts in Routt County History."
courtesy photo

— Sometimes, the most intriguing nuggets of history are preserved and passed along not from within the glass cases of a museum or the pages of a textbook, but by banter over beers at the local watering hole.

Conversations like these are facilitated in a collaboration between Tread of Pioneers Museum in Steamboat Springs and Butcherknife Brewing Company on the first Tuesday of each month at the local brewery.

Outlaw Harry Tracy to be featured at History Happy Hour event slated for 5:30 p.m. Jan. 3 at Butcherknife Brewing Co. The upcoming topic is "Crime and Conflicts in Routt County History."courtesy photo

If you go:

What: History Happy Hour January event — "Crime and Conflicts in Routt County History"

When: 5:30 p.m. Jan. 3

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Where: Butcherknife Brewing Company, 2875 Elk River Road

What: Free, plus a free craft beer

The program takes place in the behind-the-scenes brewing production area at Butcherknife. All are invited to listen, learn and talk about the topic, and those of age get a free craft beer.

The theme of the History Happy Hour series, says Tread of Pioneers' Executive Director Candice Bannister, is the rowdy and raucous side of Routt County history — scandals, crimes, conflicts, murders, outlaws, and generally, the wilder, lesser-known side of area history. The series began in October and will run through April before starting up again in fall 2017.

January's topic is "Crime and Conflicts in Routt County History." Local historian Paul Bonnifield will kick off the January event with a lecture before opening it up for questions and discussion.

Bonnifield is a former professional rodeo cowboy, underground coal miner, railroad conductor, college professor and author. His Ph.D. is in 20th-century American history; his 1979 book, "Dust Bowl: Men, Dirt and Depression," tells personal stories from those affected by the Dust Bowl in the 1930s.

The crimes and conflicts discussed at History Happy Hour will largely be those most don't think about often, Bonnifield predicts. The talk will touch on several ponzi schemes, including a local multi-million dollar fraud at the turn of the 19th century and a crew of Oak Creek's political bigwigs who allowed and even deliberately arranged the town's systems of gambling, bootlegging and prostitution.

Bonnifield will also discuss some local history centering on the polygraph test and more violent acts, including a girl who killed her mother.

"This was the time that the homestead movement was dying out; some of the crimes were the result of the conditions people were living under — they simply couldn't stand it," Bonnifield said.

The February History Happy Hour is the “Death of Joseph Hahn and the History of Hahn’s Peak," March's theme is "Outlaws Tom Horn and the Bassett Family" and April's topic has not been finalized.

"It's so hard to choose," Bannister said. "There's so much fascinating history to talk about."

Each brings in a new lecturer and new content.

"Audience response and attendance has been incredible," Bannister said.

For the "Brooklyn: Steamboat's Red Light District" talk, more than 150 people packed the brewery.

The Tread of Pioneers is also hosting the “Taste of History” historical food and recipe series, which runs January to March at the museum, and the Winter Film Series, which runs the second Tuesday of each month through March at the Chief Theater.

Now, raise a glass and toast to the historical rowdiness and raucousness sure to be unearthed in the coming months.

If you go:

What: History Happy Hour January event — “Crime and Conflicts in Routt County History”

When: 5:30 p.m. Jan. 3

Where: Butcherknife Brewing Company, 2875 Elk River Road

What: Free, plus a free craft beer

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