History of the Ranch
The Hayden Ranch was founded in 1859. The buildings that still stand today were built between 1880 and 1930. The site operated mainly as a hay ranch through the 1890s, providing feed for the horses and mules serving Leadville’s mining industry. With the Silver Panic of 1893 and the arrival of the automobile a few years later, the ranch turned to grazing cattle. Beginning in 1947, the ranch was only used seasonally and the historic buildings declined. In 1998, the City of Aurora purchased the Ranch for water rights. Through the efforts of Lake County Open Space Initiative, 60 acres were donated to Lake County, 1,411 acres sold to the Bureau of Land Management and 360 acres along the Arkansas River were sold to Colorado State Parks. In order to preserve the historic structures, a bargain sale was made to Colorado Preservation, Inc. for the 36.2 acre Homestead portion of the property in 2005.
Colorado Preservation, Inc. is working to stabilize the sixteen historic structures on the property in cooperation with Colorado Mountain College – Timberline Campus (CMC). Colorado Preservation, Inc. secured a State Historical Fund grant and matching monies to conduct Phase I stabilization and interpretive work to some of the contributing structures of the site, which took place in 2007-2008. In 2008, Colorado Preservation, Inc. sold the Hayden Ranch site to Colorado Mountain College for use as a laboratory, woodworking shop, and classroom space for students in their historic preservation trades program. Phase II stabilization of the Horse Barn, Bunk House, Ranch House, Slaughterhouse, and Log Cabin was just completed in the fall of 2010. Phase III stabilization of the Large Barn, the Garage/Storage Barn, and the Barn/Manger is set to take place this summer of 2011. Master planning for the property, as directed by the Colorado Mountain College and other stakeholder groups, is also under-way. Colorado Preservation, Inc. remains active and supportive of the project and also holds a position on the Colorado Mountain College’s Historic Preservation Program and Hayden Ranch advisory committee.
– Project support is provided by Colorado Mountain College, the State Historical Fund, the Environmental Protection Agency, Lake County and Lake County Open Space Initiative, Top of the Rockies Scenic Byway & Greater Arkansas River Nature Association, the Quick Family Foundation, the Gates Family Foundation, and Colorado Preservation, Inc.