A history lesson

The new exhibit at the Depot is a glimpse into the area's past through selected pieces of art


— The most recent exhibit at the Art Depot is a glimpse into the past of Steamboat Springs through selected pieces that may be new to historical buffs of the area.

"Historical Art: A Journey from 1865-1930" is a collection of 45 paintings, photographs and various other items that are connected to Steamboat's heritage.

The pieces were donated to the Tread of Pioneers Museum. But the museum didn't have the space to have the items on permanent display.

Recently, the museum received a grant from the Colorado State Preservation and Restoration Board, given through the Steamboat Questers organization.

"We were able to restore a number of pieces with the grant," museum volunteer Claire Fraser said.

About 15 pieces were restored, but there wasn't a place to show them to the public.

Photographs and paintings were treated to prevent decay and put into an airtight case.

The museum and the Steamboat Springs Arts Council joined forces to put together the Historical Art exhibit to show the pieces, as well as some other artifacts that may be unknown to residents in the Yampa Valley.

"We thought it would be a unique opportunity to have a joint show," Fraser said.

Fraser, Ginny Campbell and Boo Ross went through the museum's items and picked out the pieces for the exhibit. They choose a time period, from 1865-1930, to go by and went from there.

A few of the choices clearly stand out, some for the historical value alone, including an entire collection of wildflowers painted in watercolor by Steamboat's first artist, Lulie Crawford, daughter Steamboat Springs' founder James Crawford.

James Crawford's son, Logan, has a charcoal drawing of his brother, John, sitting by the first elk he ever shot.

Another interesting relic is a hair wreath of the Van Dorn family. The horseshoe-shaped wreath is made out of human hair and shows exquisite detail.

"The hair is from members of the family," Fraser said.

There are also various photographs of people and villages of the time. Images of Hahn's Peak, Yampa, Mount Harris and Steamboat Springs, all about 100 years old, are included.

A Steamboat Springs photo from 1898 shows a rare glimpse of the town and the Yampa River before the railroad was put through.

The opening reception for the exhibit is from 5 to 7 p.m. today at the Depot. The public is welcome. The exhibit runs through Dec. 1.


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