- Thursday, July 4, 2013, noon
- Yampa, Yampa, CO
Steamboat Springs When Yampa celebrates the Fourth of July this year, leading the way will be two grand marshals who know quite a bit about South Routt tradition.
Louise Iacovetto and Ed Farrington graduated from Yampa Union High School in 1943, and neither of them ever really left.
“She was the valedictorian of our class,” Farrington said. “I was the salutatorian.”
“We had 21 or 22 kids in our freshman class,” he said. “By the time the war came along, a lot of them had quit and gone into the service."
“My particular class, there was only seven of us because it was wartime,” Iacovetto said. “So many left for the service, and the women left to marry them.”
The Yampa Union High School building no longer stands, but Farrington fondly remembers the clinking pipes of the steam heating system.
“In the wintertime, it would sit there and bang,” he said, adding that the building shouldn’t have been destroyed. “It was a brick building, a good building.”
The high school classes were on the third floor, Iacovetto said. And the bell was on top of that, Farrington added.
Before Yampa Union High School was established in spring 1937, Iacovetto said, Phippsburg kids would travel to area high schools any way they could — even if that meant hopping a freight car.
Iacovetto’s late husband, Ray, was in the first graduating class of Yampa Union High School after attending school in Oak Creek and Phippsburg.
“When I was a kid, we lived 2 1/4 miles west of Phippsburg,” she said. “My brother and I rode horseback to school.”
The grade school had a horse barn out back for the kids who had to travel into town.
After high school, Iacovetto went to business school in Denver and came back to work for the railroad at the end of the era of steam engines. Soon, she said, diesel engines replaced steam, and it went downhill for the town. There was less work associated with the new engines, and after stepping away to have her son, she found her own job with the company was gone.
“When Ray was appointed postmaster, we moved the post office into the family store,” Iacovetto said. “That was from '49 until '70. In '70, we happened to along the way to buy a ranch, put up our own building and put the post office in there. And I started doing income tax returns for people.
“So then Ray retired as postmaster in 1981. I was appointed until 1989.
“We just had too much on our plate to even think about leaving,” she said.
Farrington’s family moved to Yampa in about 1928. He and his parents lived in a half-dozen houses in town when he was going through school, Farrington said.
He didn’t have any siblings, but he wasn’t alone during the school year.
“We always had one or two kids stay with us in the wintertime,” Farrington said.
A boy whose family had a ranch outside of town came and stayed with Farrington's family at the start of his eighth-grade year.
“He rode horseback until Christmastime, then he’d come to town and stay with us,” Farrington said.
“He was probably my best friend,” he said. “If I had a brother, he would have been that.
“He joined the Army in '43. We went and took a little trip out of high school. I never saw the man again. He got killed in France.
“I did get a letter from him 10 days after he got killed. But I’m going to see him again.”
When Farrington got back to Yampa after his time in the Navy, he became a charter member of the Yampa American Legion Post No. 189. Ray Iacovetto also was a charter member of the post.
Farrington joined with his dad in hauling hay and livestock.
“We were in business together till my dad passed in 1970,” he said. “I sold my trucks. I had four. I got that gravel pit on (Routt County Road) 14 ... I had it 17 years. That’s where I ended up.”
“It was a good business,” Farrington said about hauling livestock with his father. “It paid the bills.
“I never did want to go (anywhere else). I was perfectly satisfied here. My wife and I enjoyed it here.”
At one point, he said, there were four grocery stores in Yampa. The town was bigger than Steamboat for a period. Now, Farrington’s neighbors commute to Steamboat for work.
If you’re alive, you’ve got to live somewhere, he said. And the Yampa Valley is a good place to be. Not just to be from, Farrington said, it’s a good place to be in.
“I’ve had more than one offer to buy my house,” he said. “But I’d have to throw in my dog, but I don’t want to do that. I’ll just stay here as long as the Lord lets me.”
To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206 or email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com