Diamond Window Cabin

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At a Glance

Date Built: Early 1903
Restoration Start Date: 2009
Completion Date: 2009

The History

In the early 1900s, Park J. Gardner built a 168-acre homestead in Northwest Colorado on Yellow Jacket Pass, which was the main route to Steamboat Springs. Horse-drawn stagecoaches and wagons made the 3-day trip from the railroad station at Wolcott until 1909 when the Moffat Railroad began to provide passenger and freight service to Routt County. Life was hard in rural Routt County and in November 1918, Gardner’s wife Ada, only daughter Lucille and infant son died within a week during a devastating influenza outbreak. Gardner and his son John continued to live on the homestead until 1931.

The Project

The cabin was last occupied during the 1950s when Bruce Henderson purchased the parcel in 1956. He owned it until 1995 when he sold the cabin and 600 acres to the Colorado Division of Wildlife. The property is under a conservation easement for elk habitat to help offset lost habitat due to the construction of the Stagecoach Reservoir. By 2008, the cabin was in disrepair and nearly collapsed. Historic Routt County led the effort to preserve the picturesque cabin, with its unusual diamond window in the front gable, a favorite historic landmark in South Routt. The foundation was stabilized, the damaged logs were repaired and/or replaced, and the roof was reconstructed allowing for proper drainage and bringing the cabin back to its 1985 appearance. The cabin will always be a reminder of the original homesteaders in the valley and the legacy they left behind.