Craig, Colorado

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Colorado’s second largest county is Moffat County, and it fills up the empty northwestern corner of the state.  The entire county has roughly 13,000 people — three for every square mile.  Two out of every three of those people live in tiny Craig.  It’s the county seat, and one of only three towns in the entire area.

In other words, if you’re driving west across US Highway 40, this is a good place to stop, stretch your legs, and enjoy a brief encounter with civilization.

 

As you drive through Craig, one of the first landmarks you’ll spot is the West Theatre.  This twin-screen cinema dates back to the 1930’s.

Judging by a 2004 article in the Craig Daily Press, everyone in town is happy to have a theater in Craig, but no one is very pleased with the West Theatre.  It was last remodeled in the mid-1980’s (when a wall collapsed, forcing the theater to close for more than three years).  Nowadays, the interior is dusty, and the upholstery on the seats is frayed.  Maybe things have improved since 2004, but if so, news of the improvements hasn’t made it to the internet. 

The West Theatre is half a block away from Craig’s main intersection…

where Yampa Avenue (CO Rte. 13) crosses US 40.  Turn north on Yampa Avenue, and you’re in the middle of Craig’s downtown business district.

 

In addition to the handful of stores and restaurants that line the street…

… there’s also Estey Memorial Park, where some chainsaw-carved tree stumps were on display.  Unfortunately, I was in town just one week before the annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous, where a dozen chainsaw-wielding sculptors turn tree trunks into works of art.

A statue of James Robinson, a local cowboy around the turn of the 20th century in Craig, stands between the street and Estey Park.

If you’re interested in Craig’s cowboy history, walk up the street about a half block, and check out the Museum of Northwest Colorado, in the former Colorado State Armory building.

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