Saturday, August 16, 2003
Steamboat Springs Those who have lived in Steamboat Springs for a while know it as the Wither home. Archie Wither, father of Tread of Pioneers founder Dorothy Wither, built the home at 153 Maple St. in 1910.
Archie and his brothers came to Colorado from Scotland for the gold rush near the turn of the century, said Frances Wither, Archie's daughter-in-law. They established themselves at Hahn's Peak, but the golden bounty was less than they imagined. Archie started a general store, and eventually moved to Steamboat because of the benefits of the railroad.
He built the home in an area considered "the edge of town" at the time, said Pete Wither, Archie's grandson. The home was the holiday gathering place for the Withers for many years. Pete said he remembers sledding with his friends from the house at the top of the Maple Street hill, across Lincoln Avenue to the Fifth Street Bridge, near the rodeo grounds.
During the Great Depression, Archie lost his store and eventually his house. Other family members bought the home, trying to keep it in the family, but it was eventually sold to an outsider.
For the past 18 years, Catherine and Bob McCullough have owned and lived in the historic home. It has been a continual project for the couple, renovating and adding to the house, but Catherine said it has become too big for them to handle and they are considering selling the house.
It is on the market for almost $1.5 million, with several appliances included in the price. Catherine McCullough said since her children have moved out, the house is simply too big for her, her husband, two dogs and a cat.
But, with all the work and time spent in and around the house, McCullough said she is having a difficult time letting it go.
"There is a lot of heart and soul in this house," McCullough said.
The house is about 3,200 square feet with four bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, a finished attic, original stone fireplace built from rocks taken from the Emerald Mountain quarry, an attached two-car garage, hardwood floors and tall ceilings, all on a 1-acre lot overlooking Old Town.
The McCulloughs have done
major work on the house. When they bought the home, Catherine said she cried when she saw all the work that needed to be done. She said she would never forget the day when she was outside working on the yard and a neighbor yelled: "When are you going to paint that monstrosity?"
"I had the vision, just not the money," McCullough said.
She said she and her husband had to focus on the unseen needs of the house first. They first replaced the plumbing, the boiler and pet-stained carpets.
Later, they renovated the bathrooms and the kitchen, added onto the front of the house, installed railings on the front porch to give the house a more Victorian look, and hauled in truckloads of earth to backfill the backyard to give their children a larger area to play. Before, the backyard sloped almost straight down from the back door. Now, a 5-foot-high iron fence surrounds the back and side yards, where children or pets can roam freely. Outside, the McCulloughs have landscaped the yard with stone pathways, brick patio, a vegetable garden and pine, aspen, cottonwood and cherry trees that attract robins and the occasional bear in autumn.
Catherine McCullough said the family has had loved the home for two decades. Her husband has changed his mind time and time again about selling it, she said.
"There aren't that many houses in Old Town sitting on an acre that also get views of beautiful sunsets," McCullough said.