Moving Mount Harris

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At a Glance

Date Built: 1914
Project Phase 1: Will conclude March 2023

Have a Mt. Harris home that may be eligible to move?
Please contact us!

The History

Mount Harris was the largest coal company town in Routt County, founded by two brothers from Iowa, George, and Byron Harris in 1914. The town was located in the Bear River Canyon along the Yampa river between Steamboat Springs and Hayden Colorado. During its heyday, it was home to nearly 1,295 people who worked in one of the three mines in the area. It had a diverse population from all over the United States, Mexico, Italy, Greece, Eastern Europe, and England. In the early years, the town was segregated, and the Black residents lived on the western edge of town, attended their own church, and played on a segregated local baseball team. There was also a community of Japanese people who lived in Mount Harris and worked for the railroad.

According to the Historical Guide to Routt County, the town was laid out in three sections, each containing four long rows of houses. Most homes were painted white with gray trim and had spacious yards. Barns along the river were provided for families who kept milk cows, chickens, and geese. Most of the business district consisted of a large sandstone building containing the mining office, a general store, a drug store, a pool hall, a barber shop, and a post office. The town boasted three churches, three boarding houses, a community center for dances and movies, and a two-story bandstand. In 1916, the coal company built a 4-room grade school. In 1958, all evidence of the town was dismantled, auctioned off, and moved across the region. What remained was demolished.

The Project

Looking at Mt Harris now, it’s hard to believe that a vibrant, multicultural town existed. Historic Routt County and the Hayden Heritage Center are working with CU Denver to document the history of Mount Harris before and after it was dismantled, creating a context over time. The history of Mt Harris tells how northwest Colorado communities developed. Time is of the essence as many of the relocated homes are being demolished for larger homes with the gentrification of our mountain community.

Phase 1: Research, Inventory, and Documentation of Mt. Harris homes and buildings moved to other regional locations. This will be the basis for the narrative and collateral materials to share the story of Mt Harris with the public. This is made possible by a grant from the Colorado State Historical Fund.

Phase 2: Continue with research and develop a layered map shared with oral histories of Mt Harris. This will include an architecture survey of the townsite, changes over time, and a potential historic designation.

Info about moving Mt. Harris houses:

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