Tom Ross' column appears in Steamboat Today. Contact him at 970-871-4205 or tross@SteamboatToday.com.
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Steamboat Springs If you’re one of those people, like myself, who always has secretly wished they could have an historic outhouse in the backyard, you’re going to want to write this down.
Friends of Crossan’s M&A Market will be hosting a benefit for the restoration of the classic early 19th century grocery July 26 at the Antlers Cafe in Yampa. Viewing of auction items begins at 4 p.m. followed by adult beverages and live music. Auctioneer Tommy Rossi will kick the live auction off at 6 p.m. And yes, there will be not one, but two outhouses on the auction block.
“We'll also have a silent auction and a few pieces from Crossan’s itself, including a Coca-Cola sign. So, it should be a goer,” Rita Herold, one of the organizers, said this week.
If you haven’t hiked the Devil’s Causeway yet this summer, here’s a chance to tick that one off the hiking list and, assuming you survive the Causeway, finish the day at Antlers, an historic gem in its own right.
Crossan’s, built in 1903, is emblematic of the railroad boom years in the incorporated town south of Steamboat Springs. The Friends of Crossan’s are in the midst of an historic renovation that will do more than stabilize the old building.
Crossan’s, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, was placed on a new foundation last fall. Now, Friends of Crossan’s are raising matching funds for the next round of construction, Herold said, hence the auction.
Friends member Noreen Moore said that although the future of Crossan’s is much more secure this summer, it isn’t yet suitable for human occupancy. She and Friends president Jeff Drust are looking forward to an upcoming meeting coming with representatives of the State Historic Fund and the Department of Local Affairs, to discuss plans and financing for phase two of the restoration.
Phase 1 was funded with a grant of $200,000 from the Historical Fund and matched by the Friends with $62,500.
“The next big thing is to finish the historic outside (of the building), restoring the stairwell on the outside of the building, putting the meat locker back in and rebuilding a shed,” Moore said.
Crossan’s did not cease operating as a grocery until 1964, and when it closed, the shelving and much of the merchandise were left in place. After restoration is complete, the intent is to preserve the feeling on the first story that the ‘60s still are alive at Crossan’s.
It’s a different story on the second level, which will be adapted to house some of the town of Yampa offices. That will necessitate making the building accessible, which includes installing an elevator. And that’s where the Department of Local Affairs comes in, Moore said.
But what about those outhouses? After taking an alley tour of the National Historic District in Lake City last summer, I can confirm that ownership of a cute, if no longer functional outhouse is a status symbol in some Colorado mountain towns.
This is your chance.
One of the auction outhouses is a genuine museum piece with a long history of service in Routt County, and the second is is a faithful replica built as a storage shed. And when you think about it, storing shovels, rakes and old powder skis is probably the best use of a privy in the 21st century Yampa Valley.
You can follow the Friends of Crossan’s on Facebook.
To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1