Local History Thursday: Three Wire Winter

What is a three wire winter, you ask? For folks that live in snowy, persistently cold places like Steamboat Springs, Colorado, a three wire winter occurs when the snow reaches the third wire on a barbed wire fence. It is also the name of a wonderful little publication put out from 1976 to 1988 by students and teachers of Steamboat Springs High School. 

Three Wire Winter’s goal was to preserve and share oral histories of local citizens describing their lives within a small town Colorado landscape. The project was headed by the high school’s US History teacher Bill McKelvie. Through awarded grant funding, McKelvie helped to organize proper training for the students to learn how to create transcripts, conduct oral history interviews, and provide the necessary photography to produce a well-organized and enticing magazine. 

Three Wire Winter magazine features interviews from local citizens of Routt County, Colorado, as well as recipes, photography, letters from readers, and descriptions of local entertainment events and daily life.  The high school students worked hard to choose and create the content for the magazine, and to make sure the print was typeset correctly, distributed to the right places, and fundraising efforts were achieved. 

All 24 issues were digitized by the Tread of Pioneers Museum and the Bud Werner Memorial Library in 2015, so we can now enjoy them virtually from anywhere in the country. Readers may feel immediately drawn to the charmingly vintage cover photos and the earnest, fascinating historical Coloradan stories that lie within.  

A reader letter from David Stearns in the Fall of 1977 issue stated, “…it’s admirable what you’re doing with the magazine, as so much marvelous folklore and grassroots experience tends to be lost when old folks in a community pass on.” Click here to share a nostalgic Colorado experience, and to virtually access every page of all the Three Wire Winter’s issues available in the Mesa County Libraries catalog.  



Posted in General, Local History.

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