Tales from the Tread: Celebrate the Crawfords

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On July 24, Tread of Pioneers Museum staff and board of directors dedicated the museum’s community room to James L. (Jim) Crawford and Anna Fang to recognize their continued support and contributions to the Tread of Pioneers Museum and our local history. The event also served as a surprise exhibit opening reception featuring the “Art of the Crawfords,” located in the newly dedicated room.

Tales from the Tread

Tales from the Tread columns publish the first and third Wednesdays in the Steamboat Today.

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An opening reception for the Art of the Crawfords exhibit will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Tread of Pioneers Museum.

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View across Soda Creek from the Crawford Cabin in 1887 depicted in an oil canvas by Lulie Crawford Pritchett.

Jim is the great-grandson of the founder of Steamboat Springs, James H. Crawford. In addition to Jim and Anna’s continued financial support of the museum organization, for almost two decades, they have illustrated their commitment to the museum and our heritage by:

• Preserving and sharing with the public, a major heritage landmark, the Crawford house, 1184 Crawford Ave.

• Donating significant artifacts, photos and documents to Tread of Pioneers Museum collection.

• Transcribing and publishing Crawford family memoirs and other memorabilia, available on Jim’s Crawford family website: crawfordpioneersofsteamboatsprings.com.

• Volunteering their time on significant research for the museum and other heritage projects.

Art of the Crawfords Exhibit

The majority of the Crawford family artwork in the museum collection and exhibit focuses on the watercolors of local wildflowers painted by Lulie Crawford Pritchett. However, there are several oil paintings and other media by Lulie and several other special pieces created by other members of the Crawford family. The artwork provides us a view of the creative and everyday life of this pioneer family and unveils the rich legacy established by the founders of Steamboat Springs.

Lulie Crawford’s family founded Steamboat Springs in 1875 when she was a young girl. To broaden her education, Lulie occasionally spent winters with her relatives in her hometown of Sedalia, Missouri, where she studied painting, piano and voice, among other subjects.

Lulie was an outdoorswoman from early on. Her paintings of Colorado wildflowers reveal how her artistic talent merged with her love of nature. Lulie’s daughter, Lulita, wrote about her mother: “Wind and sun and stream were friends to her, and columbines were sisters.”

The majority of the Crawford art collection was donated by Nancy Rosi, sister of Jim Crawford and great-granddaughter of James H. Crawford. The artwork was previously housed in Rosi’s home in Denver, where the Lulie and her husband. Carr Pritchett. lived after returning from Mexico in 1902. The Pritchett/Rosi home in Denver and the Crawford house on Crawford Ave. in Steamboat Springs still contain many Crawford/Pritchett treasures, including more of Lulie’s artwork. The Tread of Pioneers Museum staff and board are grateful to the Rosis and the Crawfords for sharing their family’s collections with the museum and the public and for preserving the remarkable homes of the Crawford and Pritchett families.

Join Tread of Pioneers Museum from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday during First Friday Art Walk for a public opening reception of this historical exhibit, “Art of the Crawfords.” Food and beverages will be available.

For more information on the Crawford and Pritchett families, visit the Tread of Pioneers Museum and crawfordpioneersofsteamboatsprings.com.

Candice Bannister is executive director of the Tread of Pioneers Museum.

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