Monday, November 14, 2005
For at least 90 years and perhaps longer, travelers in South Routt County have admired the simple architecture of the "Diamond Window Cabin." Most likely, they first gazed at it from the windows of passing stagecoaches, and later from the power windows of sleek SUV's and big pickups cruising past Stagecoach Reservoir State Park.
The cabin, situated close to Routt County Road 14 on property owned by the Colorado Division of Wildlife, won't withstand many more winters. But its designation this fall as an official local historic site could help secure its future.
The Routt County Historic Preservation Board is tentatively planning to organize an emergency workday for Sunday, Arianthe Stettner of Historic Routt County said. The intent is to stabilize the old cabin for another winter until permanent restoration can take place. Stettner said the wildlife department is interested in the fate of the cabin and probably would provide in-kind services, but it lacks a budget for cultural restoration projects. The department and Historic Routt County previously collaborated to save the Rock Creek Stage Stop in South Routt.
The cabin is noteworthy for its squared log timbers, but most of all for the offset rectangular window beneath the gable. The diamond window is reminiscent of other historic buildings not far away in the upper end of Pleasant Valley.
The Diamond Window Cabin is in a corner of the Morrison Creek Valley. It sits overlooking the historic route of a stagecoach line running north from the rail terminal at Wolcott to Steamboat Springs and Hahn's Peak beyond. Researchers have found gaps in reports of its history.
Researcher Marty Alex--androff writes about oral reports from several people that the cabin was built in the 1880s, but they could not be confirmed. The first official record of the purchase of the land on which it sits dates to 1911, when it was acquired by Park J. "PJ" Gardner under the terms of the Homestead Act of 1862.
The property changed hands several times before the Henderson family, which moved to the area from Wyoming in the 1940s, purchased it.
Alexandroff writes that Jeannie Aspegren Moore honeymooned at the cabin in 1941. Alice John Iacovetto recalled a two-story stage stop standing behind the cabin. And Harriett Aspegren recalled a man named Otis Andrew living in the cabin. There are also unconfirmed reports that it once served as a schoolhouse.
The timbers forming the walls of the cabin are sawed logs that were scraped and notched. The southeast side of the cabin is deteriorating where light shines through the wood shingles and the remaining sawed-lumber roof.
The wildlife department er----ected a rail fence around the building to ward off trespassers and animals, but the building is leaning into the hillside, and the roof is sagging.
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