STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Glenn Arnold thought the old barn in Steamboat Springs where he took care of cows as a child and sought shelter from thunderstorms would just fall down someday and fuel a big bonfire.
So there was still a sense of surprise in Arnold’s voice Monday, April 16 after he learned that barn is set to be preserved and become a new iconic landmark guiding tourists to the base of Steamboat Ski Area.
“I’ll be darned,” Arnold, now 84, said from his home in Grand Junction. “I’d never thought anything like that would ever happen.”
He also was surprised to hear the barn might be lit up and showcased at night.
Arnold said he was very appreciative of the work several Steamboat residents have put into preserving the 90-year-old barn, which was the centerpiece of his family’s 160-acre ranch and dairy farm.
“I feel, ya know, guilty that everybody else is doing what we should have been doing,” Arnold said. “We really appreciate all the people and effort and time and money they’ve put into it, and I’m sure that with all the planning they’ve done, they’ll have something that means something and something to show with all their efforts.”
“I think it’s great this is all happening,” he added.
Steamboat’s elected officials recently approved a plan to preserve and relocate the barn.
Arnold said he’s hoping to be in Steamboat when the barn is delicately picked up from its current location near the Meadows Parking Lot and moved up the hill in front of The Steamboat Grand.
At the barn’s new location, interpretive signs will tell the history of the structure.
In its current location, the barn ends up in a muddy, flooded field that visitors and residents can’t access in the spring.
There is a plan to add parking spaces near the barn’s new location at the corner of Mount Werner Circle and Mount Werner Road so residents and tourists can visit it.
Asked what stories he would have for any tourists who will stop to take pictures of the barn, Arnold said the historic structure was more important to his family than the house they slept in.
“The barn was where the money came from,” he said. “I think a lot of farms around the country, they built better barns than houses. That was more important to them.”
Arnold also recalled how he and his brothers often played in the barn and sought shelter there during bad weather.
“We could get outside of the house and go somewhere we weren’t being watched,” he joked.
In an interview last year with Steamboat Today, Glenn and his brother Gerald described what it was like to grow up on a farm at the base of Mount Werner before the ski area developed.
They recalled how their father, Walter Arnold would regularly show up to his family’s breakfast table near what is now the Meadows Parking Lot covered up to his waist with water and ice.
Someone had to chip away at the frozen stream from Fish Creek that the family’s dairy cows would drink from in an old barn.
And Walter’s wife, Mary, would wake up two to three times each winter night and make a trek through the snow to the family’s old wooden dairy barn to check on the lambs.
The boys said any calves that looked like they were shivering and needed help would be brought into the Arnold’s kitchen and placed behind the stove to warm up.
Gerald Arnold passed away in September at age 89.
“One of the nice things about living out on the farm with no electricity and no running water is when the kids would invite us to spend the night in town, where there was running water, a running toilet and electricity, that was always a big treat,” Gerald said when he was interviewed last summer. “I always wondered when we invited those kids to our farm, what they thought.”
“They were probably glad to go home,” Glenn said with a smile.
Information from: Steamboat Pilot & Today, http://steamboatpilot.com/