Since 1894, the stately stone mansion at 1184 Crawford Ave. has withstood the test of time, proudly perched on the hill that overlooks downtown Steamboat Springs. It stands as a testament of the strength and fortitude of Steamboat's founders, the Crawford family.
Tales from the Tread
Tales from the Tread columns publish the first and third Wednesdays in the Steamboat Today.
If you go
What: Tours of the Historic Crawford Home
When: Aug. 17; tours begin on the half hour beginning at 4 p.m.; last tour begins at 5:30 p.m.
Where: 1184 Crawford Ave.
Cost: $5 adults; children younger than 12 and museum members are free
More information: treadofpioneers.org or 970-879-2214. No RSVP or reservations is needed.
The Crawford home is the fourth local residence of this brave frontier family. James Harvey Crawford supervised the construction of the distinctive, all-stone house, and he and his wife, Margaret, lived in the house 44 years before their deaths in the home. After the Crawford children sold the house in 1950, it was owned by four families through the next five decades until it was purchased in 2004 by the great-grandson of James Harvey Crawford, James L. Crawford and his wife, Anna Fang.
Crawford and Fang carefully restored the home, and their efforts were rewarded with a listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The family will once again generously partner with the Tread of Pioneers Museum today to offer guided tours of this magnificent local landmark. Tours start on the half hour beginning at 4 p.m.; the final tour begins at 5:30 p.m.
Cost is $5 for adults, and children younger than 12 and museum members will be admitted free. No RSVP or reservation is required, but space is limited.
While participants wait for their tour to begin, the character of Maggie Crawford, presented by Marianne Capra, will tell pioneer stories on the front lawn.
James L. Crawford, who will lead the guided tours, not only restored the home, but also created a book "The Crawford House of Steamboat Springs," that lovingly chronicles the history and construction of the stone house. A voracious researcher and dedicated steward of his family’s legacy, Crawford also has transcribed and written more than seven books and booklets about Crawford family history.
Crawford is revered as one of the most esteemed current historians on Steamboat and Routt County history and, as such, is a valued member of the Tread of Pioneers Museum’s historical accuracy committee. The books can be found on Crawford’s website, crawfordpioneersofsteamboatsprings.com, or in the Tread of Pioneers Museum store.
The Crawford house is arguably the most historic and significant local landmark in Steamboat Springs due to its connection to the Crawford family and its lasting impact on the founding and development of Steamboat Springs.
The home has many unique features, including the sandstone walls.
“James wanted the building to last for centuries and chose sandstone from Emerald Mountain. Three hundred and fifty tons of stone were hauled down from the quarry by wagons pulled by James' horses. When the stone mason was finished, he was paid with those same horses," Crawford said.
When asked what it is like to preserve such an important local landmark and family history, Crawford replied, "I started out wanting to learn all I could about my ancestors, and every step of the way has been rewarding. Through the house, I have been able to feel a connection with my ancestors who died before I was born. We always have a great time showing the house to the community and talking about the Crawfords and the history of Steamboat."
Candice Bannister is executive director of the Tread of Pioneers Museum.