One year after Steamboat Springs was founded, a man by the name of Earnest Campbell built a house on what is now Oak street. Twelve years later, in 1913, that house was purchased by E.H. Zimmerman. For the next 43 years, the Zimmerman family lived in that house, watching the Steamboat Springs community grow into the town we know and love today. They were here in 1913, when a Norwegian man named Carl Howelsen put Steamboat on the map as a ski town. They were here during the prohibition, and witnessed the closing of the town’s saloons in 1914. They were here in the late 40’s and early 50’s and saw Olympians train in ski jumping. In 1956, the house was purchased by Routt county.
Of course, the history of Steamboat Springs goes back much further than 1901. That’s why in 1959, a group of Routt county residents came together and founded the Tread of Pioneers Museum to preserve the rich history and artifacts of Steamboat Springs and Routt county as a whole.
Life in turn of-the-century Steamboat
Dishwashers, electric washing machines and indoor plumbing, can you imagine day to day life without these modern comforts? What we take for granted today, people in the past would see as unattainable luxuries. Despite this, life in turn-of-the-century America was comfortable, albeit a little more difficult what today. The period-furnished rooms in the Zimmerman house are perfect examples of this.
The Western Heritage Room
When people think about the old west, their mind immediately jumps cowboys, outlaws and sheriffs. The Western Heritage room provides a glimpse into this distinct piece of American cultural history. It features some of the iconic firearms that were carried and used by the pioneers and cowboys who settled in the area, as well as some of the tools and supplies used to survive the in the wild west. One of its most impressive exhibits tells the story of Routt County Sheriff Charles Neiman, the lawman who aprehended the ruthless outlaw Harry Tracy, who rode in The Hole in The Wall Gang led by the infamous outlaw Butch Cassidy.
The Native American Exhibit
Long before white settlers set foot in the area, the residents of Routt County were Native Americans from the Ute tribe. The Utes were a nomadic band of hunter-gathers, and often came to the area during the summers for the natural hot springs, believing the hot springs held healing abilities. When white settlers began to arrive in the mid 1820’s and early 1830’s, the initial contact between the Utes and settlers was considered peaceful. However, as more settlers continued to arrive, periods of competitive friction began to arise. In the early 1880’s, the Utes in the area were forcibly removed by the United States military and taken to reservations.
The Native American Exhibit itself contains an extensive collection of artifacts such as American Indian Weaving, beads, pottery and tools.