Elk Creek Octagon & Barn at Shaffer’s Crossing

 Octagon-small
Year Listed: 2018
County: Jefferson County
Threat When Listed: Demolition by Neglect; Vandalism; Abandonment
Status: ALERT

Video courtesy of CBS4

After relocating from Wyoming, the family of Samuel and Sarah Shaffer settled on 35 acres of land along Elk Creek, where the stage coach route crossed, about 35 miles southwest of Denver.  At what became known as Shaffer’s Crossing, four of Samuel Shaffer’s sons (Rollo, Charlie, Tom, and Bert) worked in the family business, which originally included farming, threshing and milling, cutting railroad ties, and trading horses.  The family later turned to running the local store and dance pavilion.  Early homesteaders in the area danced on many a Saturday night at the Crossing’s round white “Octagon” building, which also served as a grange hall.

The Octagon itself has served many purposes, ranging from a school house, grange hall, community center, church, and sheep barn.  The white barn was built around 1903 by Samuel Shaffer and his sons.  The barn was used to store hay in the upper portion, and the lower-level was a horse barn.  The barn was constructed with hand-hewn timbers, tendon joints, and some square nails.  Because the Shaffer’s also had a saw mill on their property near the barn, it is likely that the lumber was milled on site.

Slide2

The architecture of the Historic Elk Creek Octagon Building is unique, with its steeply pitched roof reminiscent of older European churches, an its 35-40 foot tall pole in the middle.  The remnants of hand-painted flowers and wildlife on ceiling panels remain.  At one end was a stage where many bands performed, including the legendary Isham Jones, the musician and jazz band leader of the 1920s and 30s.  It is here that he composed the popular hit “It Had to Be You.”

“I bet I danced a thousand miles around that thing, just round and round”-JP Hill-Pine Mail Carrier

Slide5

Today, nearby Staunton State Park includes 320 acres of the once vast land holdings of Joseph, Rollo, and Lisa Shaffer and Clara Shaffer Robinette.  To the south of Highway 285, the Archdiocese of Denver purchased 250 acres of meadow land in  2015 for a large retreat center west of Elk Creek Road and tucked behind the crest of the meadow where the Octagon and barn stand.  The family home, store, and church are long gone, making the Octagon and barn the remaining familiar landmarks on the site, highlighting the case for their preservation.  It is hoped that a use that complements the retreat center can be found for the Octagon and barn.  The Shaffer family descendants are very supportive of the efforts to preserve the structures, and the Jefferson County Historical Commission also voted unanimously to support Endangered Places Program listing. 

Recently the Archdiocese has put their construction plans for a retreat center on hold. Historic Jeffco has also created a PowerPoint with a video concerning the project. Assistance from a 2018 State Historical Fund grant provided stabilization and emergency repairs to the structure, with help from Historicorps. Utilizing foresight and creativity, the preservation of the Octagon and barn will ensure that Shaffers’ Crossing remains the name of this important junction in southwest Jefferson County, for years to come.

Slide4

Donate to CPI

We hope you will extend your appreciation for Colorado's heritage by helping us take advantage of this $1 to $1 matching campaign. Learn more about our matching campaign and make your tax-deductible donation today!

Matching Campaign

Thank you to our donors for this matching campaign!
 

 

Peter Grosshuesch

Matt Goebel

Andy Duckett-Emke

Kelly and Peter Merrion

Blair and Chris Miller

Keith and Carmen Willy

Mike and Anne Coughlin

Steven Turner and  Steven Kick

T. Drew Notestine

Anonymous

Elaine Freed

Megan Concannon

Nicole Hernandez

Ron and Linde Thompson

Dan Corson

Lucas Schneider

Jon Nathan Schler

Jane and Phil Watkins

Ariel Steele 

Kimberly Kintz

Lisa A. Stegman

Graham Johnson

James and Joan Kroll

James Hewat

JoVonne P. Fitzgerald

Jennifer Wahlers

Stephen Blitz

Arianthé Stettner

Ann Mullins

R. Michael Bell

Nan and Dave Anderson

Patrick Eidman

Beverly Rich

Jane Daniels

Kaaren Hardy

Cynthia Pond

Rheba Massey

Katherine Woods and Christopher Koziol

Dave Lively

Paul O’Rourke

Lisa May

Sally Hopper

Ann Alexander Walker

Julie Johnson

Anonymous

Judith W. Amico

Featured Project

Preservation for a Changing Colorado

The 2017 update, Preservation for a Changing Colorado, resulted from a partnership between Colorado Preservation and History Colorado and Colorado Preservation, Inc. Prepared by Clarion Associates, the new report and accompanying website document the economic benefits of rehabilitation projects, analyzes property values and neighborhood stability in local historic districts, and summarizes the increasing impact of heritage tourism, private preservation development and the success of Colorado’s Main Street program. In a key finding, researchers found that for every $1 million spent on historic preservation in Colorado leads to $1.03 million in additional spending, 14 new jobs, and $636,700 in increased household incomes across the state! The 2017 report also considers the important role preservation plays in helping Coloradans provide new spaces for creative communities and co-working, create and sustain meaningful places, respond to the state’s changing demographics, and address climate concerns. Click Here to see the full report, "Preservation for a Changing Colorado".