Tread of Pioneers Museum shows Yampa Valley through ‘Judge’ Gooding’s eyes |

Tread of Pioneers Museum shows Yampa Valley through ‘Judge’ Gooding’s eyes

Nicole Inglis

Lynn Abbott, Addison "Judge" Gooding's granddaughter, emphasized the importance of the outdoors to her family, which for more than 100 years has had a notable impact on the Yampa Valley. An exhibit about the Gooding family will be on display at the Tread of Pioneers Museum for the next year.
Matt Stensland

— On the wall in a small upstairs room in the Tread of Pioneers Museum hangs an old wooden gavel that once belonged to Addison "Judge" Gooding.

Standing in that room Friday was his granddaughter, Lynn Abbott, who mused that much more than the family name has been passed down through six generations of the longtime Steamboat Springs family.

Judge's "love for the mountains has seeped down through generations, no matter how far away they've gone," said Abbott, who now has grandchildren of her own.

For the next year, as part of the Tread of Pioneers' Foundations of Steamboat series, the small room on the second floor of the museum will be dedicated to the Goodings, a family of businesspeople, lawyers, skiers, community activists and environmental stewards who have resided in the Yampa Valley for more than 100 years.

That same room has honored families such as the Lights, Allens, Temples, Stankos, Leckenbys and Kemrys during the past 13 years.

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But curator Katie Adams said the Gooding exhibit offers a different perspective on Yampa Valley's history.

"The Goodings are different than the usual families in Routt County," she said. "We do a lot of ranching families, but the Goodings really fill a community niche."

Settling in Routt County

The Goodings first arrived in Routt County from their home in Nebraska in 1905. Patriarch A.M. Gooding Sr., his wife, Martha, and their four children settled outside Steamboat Springs, which is where A.M. Gooding Jr. — better known as "Judge" Gooding — followed in the footsteps of his father by setting up his law practice in 1915.

But the judge didn't stop there. Aside from serving as the 14th Judicial District judge for 16 years, he also was instrumental in the Routt County Memorial Hospital's construction and served as its association president, and he was president of the Steamboat Springs School Board for 10 years. But during his leisure time, he often could be found in the Routt County wilderness on fishing and camping trips with his children.

Ann and Gates Gooding were just as involved as their father in the community and the outdoors.

Gates Gooding was known as "Mr. Ski Town USA" for his dedication to the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. When he wasn't boot-packing jump landings or marking off race courses, he was active on the library board and in Winter Carnival. He competed on the University of Colorado's first ski team and had two children, Addison and Tyler, with his wife, Doris Harwig.

Ann Gooding was well-known for the wildflower classes she led through Colorado Mountain College and her extensive volunteer work.

'A way of life'

Abbott, who is Ann's daughter, recalls a childhood filled with memories of riding bareback across fields, camping trips and all types of skiing. Among the values passed down through the generations, a love of winter sports has proved to be one of the strongest. Photographs in the exhibit show almost every member of the family playing in the snow at some point in time.

"It's so important for the kids and the grandkids," Abbott said about passing on that legacy. "It's a way of life. It was such a way to grow up."

Abbott's children still love to ski, and Tyler Gooding's children, Marsh and Gates, were on snow soon as they could walk.

Marsh Gooding went on to become the captain of the University of Vermont Alpine ski team. Today, the two brothers are touring across Europe on bicycles.

The boys' mother, Debbie, married Tyler in the 1980s. She called the exhibit a tribute to the family's longevity in the valley.

"It's the continuity, the fact their family came so early and saw the beauty of the area and were able to make a professional living here and add to the community," she said. "And they're still here in that sense. My kids are still huge supporters of Steamboat."

While the family tree is dense with achievements, Judge Gooding's quote in a newspaper article unearthed by the Tread of Pioneers Museum perhaps sums up best what it means to be a Gooding:

"Fame and fortune are out of my line," he said. "There are still too many hills to climb and too many trout to catch."

— To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email

If you go

The Gooding family exhibit will be on display as part of the Foundations of Steamboat series for the next year at the Tread of Pioneers Museum at Eighth and Oak streets. The museum is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, and admission is free for Routt County residents.

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