Saturday, November 30, 2002
Yes, you remember the "Cabin Hotel" correctly as the beautiful two-story, 100-room, resort complex at the west edge of town surrounded by a variety of mineral springs. The hotel was built soon after the railroad reached Steamboat (which was in 1909). Well, actually the rails reached Steamboat in Dec. 1908, but service didn't commence until the following spring.
The hotel was located on the north bank of the Yampa River, right across the river from the Moffat Depot.
The Main Street of Steamboat is a perfectly straight one-mile segment of U.S. 40. The Cabin Hotel was at the west end of the main street, Lincoln Avenue. The eastern terminus of main street is at the Heart Spring, a large hot spring that supplies indoor pool and private baths know at the "Bath House," and a large outdoor pool.
Prospective guests and other railroad passengers were met at the Depot by a "Concord Coach" provided by the hotel to transport travelers and their luggage over town. And on occasion, this coach is used to convey hotel guests to and from the Bath House.
It is said that there are over 100 mineral springs within a quarter-mile radius of the hotel, with the Heart Spring only a short distance outside this circle. I'll mention only a few of the most prominent springs. On the north side of the river, and no more than a few roads from the hotel, some of the best-known springs include the Sulphur Springs, the Iron Spring and the Chinking-Mud Spring. On the south side of the river, within a few roads of the Depot) are the Lithia Spring and the Steamboat Springs. The Steamboat Springs are a pair of small geysers that erupt alternatively from opposite sides of a common basin, a few feet in diameter.
Well, actually, I am describing the Steamboat Springs as they appeared to James Crawford, the founder of the town, when he staked his claim here in 1874. In those days the geysers sprouted water with a rhythmic "chugging" which sounded for all the world like the old Missouri steamboats.
Although a generous flow of water can still be seen bubbling from each of the two springs they no longer spurt water into the air, as in the old days.
Local authorities blame the railroad builders for destruction of this remarkable phenomenon.
The geyser effect of the springs, however, had greatly diminished prior to the railroad's arrival possibly from natural causes possibly an account of youngsters chucking stones as deep as they could into the springs, to see how high the geyser would throw the stones.
Meant to write more about the hotel. Well, maybe next time.
Until then, sincerely,