Take a walk through time | SteamboatToday.com

Take a walk through time

Tour celebrates Yampa's centennial

Allison Plean

Rita Herald’s family has lived in the Yampa Valley for more than 100 years.

“They came here in the 1800s,” Herald said this week. “And when I was a kid, I got interested in hearing their stories.”

Herald will share those stories during six historical walking tours of South Routt County this summer. The walking tours coincide with the town of Yampa’s 100th birthday.

“Depending on my audience, the tour covers a mile to a mile and a half,” Herald said. “It covers the history and legends of some of the buildings and some of the people that go with the buildings.”

Participants will learn the history behind the Antlers Hotel, the Royal Hotel, Montgomery’s General Merchandise Store, the jail, the first bank in Yampa and the Van Camp Cabins, which date to 1883.

“The Van Camp Cabins were homesteaded by Joe Ward, who was an outlaw,” Herald said. “The Van Camps bought the homestead from him with the provision that he would leave. That in itself has a story behind it.”

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Herald plans to bring the lives of those pioneers to life, and she wants to gear the information toward participants’ interests.

“We do as much talking as we do walking,” Herald said. “You get a sense of the past, and it’s a way to introduce people to our historic town.”

The railroad came through Yampa in 1889, but it didn’t reach Steam–boat Springs until 1908. Yampa was the halfway point for travelers going from Wolcott to Steamboat. Travelers took the stagecoach from Yampa to Steamboat.

At least one of the regular stagecoach drivers seemed to have something against staying in Yampa hotels.

“Rather than going into the hotel to sleep, he would go into the pool hall and bar,” Herald said. “He would take his chair and prop it up against the wall and pull his hat over his eyes. Evidently, he would sleep, because there’s no evidence that he ran the stagecoach off the road.”

Herald began the walking tours last summer and also had done some for Colorado Northwestern Community College in Rangely. Many of the people who take part in the tours have local ties, such as a grandfather or great-grandmother who lived in the area, she said.

The tours are from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and will begin at First and Main streets in Yampa and end with lunch at one of the historical establishments. The tours are sponsored by Historic Routt County, the Tread of Pioneers Museum and Yampatika.

¤ Historical walking tour of South Routt¤ 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Thursday, June 10, July 13, July 15, Aug. 10 and Aug. 12¤ Tour starts at the small park at First and Main streets in Yampa¤ Free¤ 871-9151

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