Grand Lake museum hosts historical ranches exhibit
September 21, 2012
HistoryLouisa and Alexander Adams began to trail drive 500 head of cattle across the Colorado mountains to begin a “farm” in the Grand Lake area. They began the trip in August of 1880, with a single wagon and team, and “too few herders to make the work light.” They experienced severe cold and snow, “rough and very hard going for flat-land cattle.” They lost all but about 100 of their herd and very nearly lost their own lives. They ranched for eight years in the “fertile valley south of Grand Lake,” but eventually gave it up. They moved to Town to operate the Grandview House hotel. The ranching lifeRanching, whether “guest ranch” or “working ranch,” meant making a living off the land in the mountain and high-desert valleys around Grand Lake. It wasn’t easy for all those who came into the area beginning in the 1870s and 1880s. The work today is the same as it was long ago – spring round-up, calving, vaccinating, and branding; followed by summer haying, irrigating and rodeos; fall round-up cattle for market or to take them to winter pasture. The Grand Lake area’s ranching history, and the work of ranchers today, is fascinating and sometimes startling. The Historical Society has researched about 40 ranches, some still operating today. Many others were located under Lake Granby and Shadow Mountain Reservoir, or were once in what is now Rocky Mountain National Park. Museum exhibitThe stories of the fortitude, trials and fun of our ranching history will be on display at the Kauffman House Museum for only one more week. The Museum will be open Saturdays and Sundays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., through September, and then this exhibit will be dismantled! Plan to come. Don’t miss this very exciting event!The exhibit is packed to the brim with all sorts of fascinating ranching gear, maps, photographs and information about each of the highlighted ranches and ranching families. We know this exhibit will “evolve” over the summer. There are places in the exhibit where visitors can add their own comments and information to our knowledge base. ThanksWe want to thank all those who have so far helped with the research, lent or donated artifacts, and designed and arranged this very special exhibit. Thanks to Carolyn Alcorn, Steve & Sue Armstead, Jane Ashby, Ann Bagg, Martha Boehner, Jackie Boyd, Bob Busse, Elaine Busse, Jim Capps, Sonny Carlson, Toots Cherrington, Don Dailey, April & Ken Hilton, Cheryl Hoese, Wes House, Norm & Margo Jacobs, Jeanne Kafer, Jane Kemp, Yvonne Knox, Dottie Kuster, Dave Lively, Donna Lyons, Richard McQueary, Bob Means, Fran Needham, Mike Norton, Jon Ogden, Jeri Peirce, Maryan Pharo, Pat Raney, Marilou Randall, Aron Rhone, Chris & Mickey Rourke, Ernie Seipp, Terry Sidell, Patti Stahl, Grand County Cartographer Kim Adams, and the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District. Here are some strange but true questions that you might want to try:1. Which area ranch was once owned by a Hollywood stunt man, and worked by his silent movie star daughter?2. Which ranch built a landing strip just so “Lucky Lindy” could visit?3. Which ranch hosted Teddy Roosevelt?4. Which ranch has a horse hotel for its visitors, and a sleigh museum as well? 5. Which ranch signed over a portion of its land to 1950s movie star Ida Lupino, who was in the area filming the movie “On Dangerous Ground”? 6. Which ranch included a fully-operational ski area?7. Which ranch is thought to have been the West’s first guest ranch?8. Which ranch was owned by the founders of a major Denver department store?9. Which ranch had a dance hall, a bowling alley, and a theater on the property?10. Which ranch had a “Cadillac railroad” delivering goods and guests to the property?Ranch Quiz Answers: 1. Sun Valley Ranch, 2. Knight Ranch, 3. Phantom Valley Ranch, 4. Winding River Resort, 5. Circle H Corral Ranch, 6. Carlson Ranch, 7. Phantom Valley Ranch, 8. Joslin Ranch, 9. KaRose, 10. McDonald Ranch Come by the Kauffman House to learn much, much more!