Number of preserved oral history tapes grows to 350 with discovery of lost cache | SteamboatToday.com

Number of preserved oral history tapes grows to 350 with discovery of lost cache

Tracks and Trails Museum in Oak Creek was approved May 31 for the use of $16

— The Routt County Board of Commissioners voted May 31 to authorize the use of $7,000 in historic preservation funds to permit the digitization and transcription of an additional 111 Three Wire Winter oral history interview tapes believed, until recently, to be missing. Among them is an interview with one of the three last-known surviving wives of Civil War veterans.

"Last year, the museum found tapes including an interview with Daisy Anderson," Tread of Pioneers Museum board member Jim Peterson told county commissioners. "This (grant) will put more than 350 oral histories on the internet."

The recovered tapes are part of a collection of interviews with historic Routt County personalities compiled by faculty and students at Steamboat Springs High School beginning in the mid-1970s and continuing well into the 1980s. Teachers Bill McKelvie and Tanna Brock guided the student research.

Anderson, who lived on a 10-acre farm in Strawberry Park where she raised geese and gardened, died in Denver in 1998 at the age of 97 and was 21 years old when she married former slave and Union Army soldier Robert Anderson, 79, in 1922.

The 111 retrieved tapes are in addition to 255 tapes that have already been transcribed through the efforts of the Tread of Pioneers Museum, Bud Werner Memorial Library and Historic Routt County and made ready for distribution by the Marmot Library Network. The tapes contain interviews with members of families that figure prominently in the history of the Yampa Valley.

"After some considerable research and inventorying this winter, the museum located a ‘mystery box’ of unlabeled and/or unmatched cassette tapes," Tread of Pioneers Executive Director Candice Bannister wrote to the commissioners. "We have listened to sections and confirmed that the majority of this mystery box, 111 tapes in total, are the missing oral history tapes from the Three Wire Winter magazine project."

Through the Marmot Library Network, the oral histories in the Three Wire Winter project will pop up more readily in search results and reach a wider audience.

The recommendation that the county commissioners extend additional funding to the Three Wire Winter project came from the Museum and Heritage Fund Advisory Board, comprised of board members from the different historic districts in the county.

The $7,000 in public funds for the Three Wire Winter tapes come from a 0.3-mill property tax passed by the voters in 2003. The tax money is being matched with $2,350 in cash from the historic organizations plus $21,468 in in-kind services from the library and the museum.

Commissioners also approved a request from the Historical Society of Oak Creek and Phippsburg and Tracks and Trail Museum in Oak Creek for $16,480 to help fund a retaining wall in the hillside behind the outdoor display of historic coal mining equipment at the museum.

They also voted Tuesday to table a request from Historic Routt County, on behalf of the Yampa Valley Land Trust, to use $6,000 of MAHFAB funds to help pay for construction documents for the rehabilitation of the Rehder Ranch House. Commissioners wanted to wait until they received further details of agreements allowing public access to the property on the east side of Lake Catamount.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1