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Steamboat Springs Steamboat Springs’ biggest and most historically significant “dog house” is for sale for $7,500. Dog not included.
Bob Schneider confirmed this week that he has placed an advertisement for the sale of the 10-foot by 24-foot log writing cabin of noted Western history author John Rolfe Burroughs, who referred to his rustic retreat as the Dog House.
“If we don’t get any local response, I’ll try eBay,” Schneider said. “If that fails, I might turn it into a horse shed. We asked a contractor what it might cost to turn it into a private study or maybe a caretaker’s cabin, and he said, 'Oh, maybe $25,000.'”
It was Schneider and his wife, Jean, who rode in on a white horse in the summer of 2010 to save the Dog House when the current owner of Burroughs’ former home, which overlooks Old Town from the west end of Maple Street, ran out of room for it.
The property owner was about to break ground on a new addition to Burrough’s cozy old house. Unable to find a way to move the writing cabin of Steamboat’s best known author to another portion of the property, he sought to have it moved off the lot entirely. Rather than see it demolished, the Schneiders stepped in and paid the contractor to hoist it onto a flatbed truck and haul it to rural property they own west of Steamboat.
“It hit us right in the heart, and we wanted,” to protect it, Bob said. “Now, it’s been four years, and it’s time to do something.”
The Schneiders never had any intention of keeping Burroughs’ writing cabin — Jean Schneider already has an artist’s studio. The presumption was that a Steamboat institution would find value in relocating the building to its property and placing it on a proper foundation. But nothing has materialized, and now the Schneiders are seeking a private buyer.
Let’s not forget, Burroughs’ Dog House is on the Routt County Register of Historic Places.
Burroughs was a civilian war hero during World War II who helped defend Wake Island in the Pacific theater while working as an engineer for a construction company. He was captured by the Japanese in 1941 and endured four years of hard labor as a prisoner of war until his release in 1945. He received a series of medals for his patriotism.
That was when he returned to Steamboat, where he’d lived since he was a toddler, and began his writing career. He wrote, “Steamboat in the Rockies,” “Where the Old West Stayed Young” (I cherish my copy) and “I Never Look Back,” the story of Steamboat’s original international skiing star, Buddy Werner. One of my favorite Burroughs' books is “Head First in the Pickle Barrel,” an account of growing up in Steamboat in the early part of the 20th century.
Burroughs’ books were good enough to have twice earned him the Western Heritage Award from the Cowboy Hall of Fame.
So, the $7,500 asking price seems reasonable for an original log building steeped in literary greatness. It’s also the amount the Schneiders spent to have the structure dismantled into two pieces, lifted onto a flatbed truck with a crane and moved to their property where it sits, ready to be reassembled.
The Dog House could be converted to a streamside fishing cabin or turned into a large potting shed, a historic storm shelter on the back nine of a golf course or a writing retreat for a novelist. And the next owner will have the satisfaction of knowing they own a piece of history.
Interested parties can reach Schneider at 979-421-3068 or 970-879-2686.
To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1