Steamboat Springs Yampa’s historic grocery, Crossan’s M&A Market, recently joined the Rock Creek Stage Stop among South Routt County landmarks on the National Register of Historic Places.
The nearly 110-year-old false-front building at 101 Main St. is emblematic of a period in the early 20th century, when Yampa was booming.
Yampa historian Rita Herold, who has led the effort to place the building on the National Register, said the community wants to put the building to practical use at the same time that it honors its past.
“We plan to have some of the offices of the town on the second story with an extension of the museum and a visitor center” on the main floor, Herold said.
The market’s weathered storefront reveals the ravages of time, but the interior is remarkably well-preserved. The grocery closed for good in 1964, but retail fixtures, display cases and advertising signs from the 1950s and 1960s are in place more than a half-century later.
Historic preservation expert Arianthe Stettner, of Steamboat Springs, said one of the qualities that stands out about the bid to protect Crossan’s M&A is that it is a grass-roots effort that has come from within the community and reflects its pride in the history of the town.
“The research and heavy lifting on that nomination (to the National Register) was done by Rita Herold,” Stettner said. “So it’s a real, grass-roots, from-the-heart effort. Part of the very special story of Yampa is that I can remember when I came to Routt County in the 1970s, Yampa had a more intact Main Street. Crossan's Market was empty for a long time, and people there had different ideas about whether it should even be preserved.”
Yampa was becoming a vibrant crossroads in 1903 with the arrival of the Moffat Railroad, a junction with the stagecoach route over Gore Pass from Hot Sulphur Springs. That year, the new market built by brothers Sam and Ed Bell was one of 40 buildings that went up in the little town’s new L-shaped commercial district.
The town of Yampa purchased the building in 2006 with the goal of raising money to stabilize it, and the Friends of Crossan’s M&A Market are working to raise $62,000 in matching funds needed to secure a $200,000 grant from the State Historical Fund.
“People at the State Historical Fund are very supportive of this,” Stettner said.
The fundraising campaign received a potential boost in September 2012 when Historic Routt County Executive Director Meg Tully received word that the State Economic Development Commission had certified the market for inclusion in an enterprise zone. That makes philanthropists who make cash donations to the preservation of Crossan’s M&A eligible, in some cases, for a Colorado Contribution Tax Credit. The Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado, of which Routt County is a member, endorsed the enterprise zone and will administer it for the town.
Herold said the town hopes to facilitate public visits on Saturdays this summer as well as open houses July 3 and 4. People wishing to arrange a tour this summer should contact town government at 970-638-4511.
To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com