Tom Ross: Cabin gets a calendar of its own
December 22, 2009
Steamboat Springs — Amid all of the dramatic new buildings that have been completed in Steamboat Springs in the past two years, a little cabin on the south side of Yellowjacket Pass stands out.
The Diamond Window Cabin is an irreplaceable part of our cultural heritage. Its continued existence is the result of the determined efforts of Historic Routt County, which led a crew of volunteers who resurrected the cabin.
Now, just in time for holiday giving, Historic Routt County has produced a handsome photographic record of the cabin restoration in the form of a 2010 calendar.
The Diamond Window Cabin was built between 1904 and 1906 by Park "P.J." Gardner and his wife, Ada May, beside the path of modern Routt County Road 14.
If you are already thinking that a calendar made by a few photographers, some pros and some amateurs, working for a small nonprofit is sure to be modest at best, you're in for a big surprise.
Based on the digital proofs I got to look over on Monday, the calendar is a knockout and will far exceed your expectations. Its success is made all the more remarkable by the fact that Historic Routt County didn't intend the calendar from the beginning.
"It was totally serendipitous, but it turned out to be a really nice document of the cabin," Historic Rout County Executive Director Towny Anderson said. He wrote the detailed captions that tell the story of the cabin and its restoration.
Lynne Garell, who had a career in computer typography with Adobe, had a big hand in creating the calendar, Anderson said. Cindy Wither contributed to the design. Garell took advantage of the fact that online publishers now allow people to make very limited print runs, and even one-of-a-kind books and calendars.
The photographers included Garell, Anderson, Johnny Walker, Jessica Heckbert, Crystal Staepel, and images donated by the Steamboat-based construction documentation firm, StructureTek. Janice Sattler contributed period photos of the Ingram family, which occupied the cabin beginning in 1920.
The calendar is packed with large-format photos of the cabin and the volunteer crews that saved it from decaying into a sagebrush-covered hillside during the summer.
It is further enriched with thumbnail images of cabin details — rusted nails, rough-hewn timbers and ornate metal that are sprinkled through the date pages.
Limited-edition calendars are more expensive than mass-produced calendars, and the Diamond Window Cabin 2010 calendar is priced at $30 to enable it to raise funds for the ongoing efforts of Historic Routt County.
The nonprofit was scheduled to go before the Routt County Board of Commissioners today to seek final approval for a $7,170 grant already endorsed by the Museum and Heritage Fund Advisory Board. The board makes recommendations on the expenditure of property tax revenues dedicated to Routt County museums and historic preservation efforts. It would be used to fund scholarships and stipends for Routt County residents to enroll in the historic preservation program at Colorado Mountain College and fulfill its requirements by interning on future historic renovations.
If the grant goes forward, Anderson said, it would represent an investment in people living in Routt County today as well as in the preservation of our cultural heritage.
What's up next, now that the Diamond Window Cabin is secure? Anderson said Historic Routt County is open to proposals from property owners who need help preserving buildings that are still in use.
However, his organization is actively looking for a project much like the original homesteaders' cabin that is quietly decaying next to the More Barn on Pine Grove Road.
"There will come a time in 15 or 20 years when very few communities in the country have an original homesteader cabin and barn within their city limits," Anderson said.
To order a calendar, e-mail email@example.com.