Photo by Matt Stensland
Workers, from left, Jim Williams, Scott Kemp and Brian Edwards work Wednesday on the restoration of the Diamond Window Cabin in Stagecoach. Historic Routt County hopes the preservation of the more than 100-year-old cabin will cause people to take on other restoration projects.
On the 'Net
Information about Historic Preservation program courses at CMC can be found by visiting www.coloradomtn.edu. Click on "Programs" at the bottom of the page then "Historic Preservation" under the "Skilled Trades & Technical Services" heading at the bottom of the page. Then click on the "Steamboat" link at the bottom of the page.
How to help
Donations to Historic Routt County can be made online at www.historicroutt..., by clicking on the "Click here to donate now" link near the top of the page. For more information, call 875-1305 or e-mail email@example.com.
Steamboat Springs The Diamond Window Cabin is getting a much-needed facelift.
Preservation of the more than 100-year-old cabin, which is sagging into the hillside on the southern side of Yellow Jacket Pass, is a two-pronged approach. The first is a part of a pilot project to preserve some of Yampa Valley's original homesteads. The second is part of a historical preservation program being offered at Colorado Mountain College's Alpine Campus.
Both are being organized by Historic Routt County.
The Diamond Window Cabin is the first homestead to be preserved with funding for what Historic Routt County hopes will be a much larger restoration project in the future, and it is the first to be worked on as part of the program at CMC, said Historic Routt County Executive Director Towny Anderson.
"I think you can accurately call this a local landmark," he said. "People give directions by it. They drive by it everyday. Everyone in Stagecoach knows about the Diamond Window Cabin."
Anderson said preservation of historic landmarks in the Yampa Valley is important because if the homesteader cabins and connection to the landscape were lost, residents and visitors would have no idea what happened there.
CMC offered the introduction to historic preservation class, which was taught by Anderson from January to April. Last Friday and Saturday, two visiting architecture professors from the University of Colorado at Denver used Diamond Window Cabin to teach a course on documentation and restoration principles.
While the cabin is used as a physical teaching tool, a crew comprising mostly volunteers began a preservation project on the cabin Monday, Anderson said. He said the 4- to 5-week project is expected to be complete by mid- to late August.
Anderson said Historic Routt County has received about $2,000 for the preservation of Diamond Window Cabin but needs about $7,000 more to complete the project.
So far, the roof and one of the wall logs has been removed. The crew worked Wednesday to straighten out the two ridgepoles between the east and west gables where the two sides of the roof meet. They were lifted from inside the cabin at the direction of Cactus Beauregard, the contractor for the project.
After the roof is replaced, the crew will trench around the cabin's foundation to lift its east end 18 to 20 inches, making the cabin level on the ground. Beauregard said that will be the biggest part of the project.
He said projects such as the Diamond Window Cabin restoration - unlike his normal work as a general contractor building custom homes - gave him an opportunity to learn.
"There's no square, straight or not rotten piece of wood in this cabin," he said. "You have to figure out how to deal with that. That's the challenge."
Volunteer Jim Williams, of Stagecoach, said he was drawn to the project having been involved with other historic restoration in the past.
"I enjoy it," he said. "It's restoring a piece of history of the West. One of the things that attracted me to the Steamboat area was the cultural heritage."
Steamboat Springs resident Jim Edwards took the spring introduction to historic preservation class at CMC. Edwards said he was interested in learning about barn restoration. Edwards, who also volunteered Wednesday, said buildings such as the Diamond Window Cabin "are worth saving."
And, he said, their work didn't go unnoticed.
"People drive by and beep their horns - give us a thumbs up," Edwards said. "It makes you feel good."