Farmstead Complex

For those settlers arriving in the 1880s and 1890s, the farmstead complex generally began with a sod house and barn. By the turn of the century, frame buildings became more common. Many of those homesteading or buying land came out before their families in order to construct the essential buildings needed house his family and livestock. These two functions could be combined with the family living in a barn lean-to while constructing a more permanent home as was done on the Seger (5PL.74) and Flacker (5PL.217) farms. They might also build small structures that could later be converted to other uses, such as the garage on the Colglazier farm (5PL.263).

The survey recorded an average of five buildings per farmstead complex in the survey. However, the number is actually likely much higher since the dense windbreaks prevent many resources from being visible from the road.

Farmsteads in Phillips County generally tend to be located fairly close to the road. Large windbreaks shelter the farmsteads from the frequent high winds on the plains. The windbreaks are generally located on the north and west sides of the farmstead. On the farmstead complex, the house is generally located closest to the road. Most houses face the road. Other buildings generally tend to be located to the rear of the house, clustered around a large farm yard area. Driveways lead from the road to the center of the farm yard.

Most farmstead complexes include buildings and structures performing the following functions: domestic, livestock, grain & feed storage, equipment storage & workshop. Some buildings like barns serve multiple functions. The types of features present tell the history of the varieties agricultural production on the farm. The following pages present an overview of the common types found on Phillips County farmsteads.


Donate to CPI

We hope you will extend your appreciation for Colorado's past into an investment in its future by making a tax-deductible gift today.

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

Join our Email List