Yampa Yampa resident Taelor Kidwell had a hard time believing her town was once a thriving metropolis that supported a bank, hospital and other businesses that have since faded from the town's streets.
Kidwell, 12, learned some of her town's history Saturday at the "Images of Yampa" art show, which was part of a daylong schedule of events celebrating Yampa's centennial.
"I was so surprised that it had a hospital and a bank. It's gotten so much smaller," she said.
Although the face of Yampa may have changed through the years, its small-town community feeling hasn't.
That essence was what Yampa officials were hoping to capture Saturday during the celebration.
"People from all over have just jumped in. They're willing to do anything," said Karen Tussey, one of Saturday's event organizers.
The only thing that would have made Saturday more successful would have been more people, Tussey said. "We didn't have the crowds we thought we would."
Threatening rain clouds may have contributed to attendance levels, she said.
The Routt County Cattlemen and Cattlewomen's Association sold 500 tickets to Saturday's barbecue, which was a promising sign for the town.
"People have been all over the town all day," Tussey said.
Throughout the day, Yampa residents and visitors to the area had the opportunity to tour a full-size passenger train, learn about railroad safety, take Union Pacific mini-train rides, take a walking tour of the town led by local historian Rita Herold, visit the "Images of Yampa" art show, take rides on a fire truck and sample some delicious barbecue.
Of the many events that people sampled, the train and fire engine rides were probably the most popular, Tussey said.
"Everyone loves trains. They love being on the mini-train and the big train," she said. "I think people enjoyed climbing into the engine (of the passenger train) because it's like climbing a mountain."
Mini-train conductor Reed Jackson of Fort Collins said he loves bringing the mini-train to small towns for residents to ride.
"We're spreading good will to the little communities that always see the bigger Union Pacific trains coming through," he said. "It's like a payback."
Crowds filled the mini-train on every run, Jackson said.
Yampa resident Alexandra Redmond said riding the mini-train was not like riding the smoother passenger train she took from Steamboat Springs to Yampa on Friday.
"After riding the big one, I see that the smaller train is much bumpier," she said. "It was still really fun and exciting."
Herold said she led about 15 people on a morning walk around the town pointing out Yampa's historical buildings and monuments.
"It was wonderful. We have been getting people from all over the place," she said.
Visitors from as far as California, North Dakota, Wyo--ming, Minnesota and New Mexico spent time in Yampa perusing historical archives, riding trains and learning about the town. "Right now, Yampa is a very happening place," Herold said.