Routt County's oldest town, Hahns Peak (1862, 8,120 feet) was the county seat for thirty-three years until replaced by Steamboat Springs in 1912. Joseph Hahn, who found gold here in 1866, died of exposure before his camp boomed in 1874 and absorbed the nearby camps of Bug Town (later National City) and Poverty Bar. Placer mining quickly gave way to hydraulic mining, and scars from the process still disfigure Willow Creek and Poverty Bar on the northeast side of town, while the remains of a dredge lie in Bug Town. Today the dirt main street passes among an intriguing collection of slab, hewn log, and frame cabins with some contemporary homes that make interesting use of local pine and spruce. Hahns Peak Village is a collection of about a dozen historic structures clustered along Main Street. The Withers Cabin (c. 1890s) is said to be the oldest structure in town.
Hahns Peak was returned to life with the establishment of Steamboat Lake State Recreation Area (1968) on the west side of town, which has sparked a recreational and second-home boom in this broad, mountain-rimmed valley. Atop bald, rocky, 10,839-foot Hahns Peak, the rock, timber, and cement Hahns Peak fire lookout tower (1924) has an open, skeletal, functional form that seems modern.
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