North Routt Wither cabin an attraction
Ceremony for restored pioneer home at 2:30 p.m. Sunday in Hahn’s Peak Village
September 3, 2010
Steamboat Springs — The hand-carved sign outside the North Routt County cabin tells its story with brevity that leaves much to the imagination.
"One day, Archie (Wither) met a lovely young lady from Snake River awaiting the Steamboat stage. Archie married Pearl Carleton on Dec. 21, 1899, and moved into this cabin. From that time on it became known as the Wither cabin," reads part of the sign carved by Charley Root.
Root, 80, is a summertime resident of Hahn's Peak Village and a member of the Hahn's Peak Area Historical Society's board of directors. Along with many others, he played a part in the multiyear relocation and restoration of the historic Wither cabin, which is the oldest building in the village and likely dates to the 1880s. Through efforts fueled by Routt County grant dollars and spearheaded by Marge Eardley, president of the historical society's board, the completely restored cabin has been open to the public for about six weeks and been viewed by scores of visitors this summer.
A ribbon-cutting is planned for about 2:30 p.m. Sunday during the Arts, Crafts and Collectibles Fair on Main Street in Hahn's Peak Village. Fitting the cabin's history, there will be Withers at the event — and for one of them, it will be her wedding day.
Allison Wither is getting married in North Routt on Sunday and her brother, Jason Wither, is the best man. They and others will stop by the cabin for the ribbon-cutting before the wedding.
"I think it's quite an honor because it's their great-grandfather that lived in that cabin, and their great-uncle that was born in that cabin in 1900," said Steamboat Springs resident John Wither, father of Allison and Jason. "It's really a nice passing along of the generations to celebrate that cabin one more time."
The exact age of the cabin is unknown. Cindy Wither, John's wife and the mother of Allison and Jason, once found a copy of The Denver Republican newspaper, dated Oct. 25, 1896, in the cabin. The society estimates the cabin was built in the 1880s.
George Baxter Wither, Hahn's Peak's first pioneer child, was born in the cabin Nov. 19, 1900.
Hahn's Peak was once a booming gold mining town, a former county seat of 5,000 people and the first permanent settlement in Routt County.
The Withers left the cabin in 1901, but George Wither bought it back in 1948. It stayed in the family and was owned by eight Wither cousins until August 2006 when the family donated the cabin to the historical society. The cabin is on the Routt County Register of Historic Places.
In May 2007, Routt County commissioners approved a $20,000 grant to preserve the cabin through the Museum and Heritage Fund Advisory Board. The money came from a property tax dedicated to preserving county heritage that voters approved in 2005.
"Without the grant, we could never have done this," Eardley said about the restoration, which showcases much of the Withers' original furniture and a wall that was restored to the original wood-chinking style of construction.
"We think the restoration has been really terrific. The cabin looks better now than I've ever known it, and I've known it for over 60 years," John Wither said. "We're really pleased that the Wither family has been able to donate that to the Hahn's Peak (Area Historical Society) and that it's become such an attraction."
On Wednesday at the Hahn's Peak Museum, which is across the street from the cabin, more than 500 names from across the country filled the guest book since the cabin's opening this summer.
"We have a lot of people come through here," North Routt resident Doris Newton said. "You wouldn't think that many people find us."
Josie Padilla of Santa Fe, N.M., visited Wednesday with her husband, Roy Padilla, and friends. She called the museum "breathtaking."
"I love old things," Josie Padilla said. "We're very glad we stopped by here."