Willowcroft Manor & Farm Update

When we last updated you on the happenings of the Willowcroft Manor & Farm, Colorado Preservation, Inc. was working with concerned community members to put pressure on the Board of Trustees and Taylor Morrison to decrease the density of the proposed development and preserve the Historic Manor and Farm.

Since our last update, Colorado Preservation, Inc. along with Melanie Short, Assessment Coordinator at Center of Preservation Research at the University of Colorado Denver, Brian Thomson, Ethan James Foundation, and three student volunteers from the Historic Preservation graduate program at the University of Colorado Denver:  Tim Holk, Kathryn Plimpton, and Lisa Steiner, moved quickly to document the property before the impending demolition.

The team successfully conducted a conditions assessment, basic measurements, and HABS level photography, to gather as much information as possible to document the site before it is lost. The Willowcroft Manor & Farm provided the last example of a turn of the century farmstead in the area, built by pioneer Joseph Bowles, the property has had a colorful history. The large two-story barn was thought to be attached to the main house at one time. During the 1920s, this building served as a speakeasy, and also housed a dance floor, before it was converted into a barn. When we visited the site, some of the original decorative wallpaper border could still be seen on the inside walls of this building.

The building is thought to have been moved in the 1930s, and was used as a mechanics shop before it was converted into a barn by Mrs. Wolf, who raised horses and other livestock on the property.

Unfortunately, the nineteenth century farm home is a vanishing phenomenon across the country, and the Willowcroft Manor & Farm can be added to the list of lost resources. The lesson here is that development pressures are picking up, and we all need to be aware and ready to react in order to save our threatened historic resources from demolition.

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Featured Project

4 Bar 4 Ranch

Homesteaded in 1895 by Dick McQueary to provide a stop for the Georgetown Stage Line, the 320-acre 4 Bar 4 Ranch has strong ties to Grand County and Colorado's heritage. The Georgetown Stage Line traveled on the road through the 4 Bar 4 Ranch from Idaho Springs to Hot Sulphur Springs over Berthoud Pass. In 1895 a roadhouse and stage stop were constructed on the ranch. The hotel and barn were constructed using trees from the Ranch property, and the hotel remained open for travelers coming over Berthoud Pass by horseback and wagon until 1913. With the coming of the automobile, the roadway over Berthoud Pass and through the 4 Bar 4 Ranch was considered an integral part of the Trans-Continental “Midland Trail” highway. Following the closing of the stage line, the ranch continued to host travelers until 1912 or 1913 when it was purchased and converted into a Ford Motor Company . Ford vehicles were sold here until 1917, when Harry Larkin purchased the ranch site. Today emergency efforts are underway to ensure it survives through the winter. Donations are in need. To learn more, contact Jennifer Orrigo Charles at jorrigocharlges@coloradopreservation.org.

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