Save the 4 Bar 4 Ranch, McQueary family history
A barbeque to raise money to save the historic 4 Bar 4 Ranch will take place from 3-8 p.m. on Saturday, July 30. This local landmark is located on County Road 5 at CR 518 in the Fraser Valley, three miles north of Fraser. The event will include beer, wine, soft drinks, music, and games. Tours will be given of the ranch for those interested. The BBQ will be the first of several fundraising efforts to save the ranch
The 4 Bar 4 was named one of Colorado’s most endangered places by the Colorado Preservation, Inc. The buildings are currently deteriorating and are in danger of collapsing. The Stagecoach Homeowners Association owns the building and does not currently have the funding to preserve the historic site. According to a Historic Structural Assessment, preservation of the Stagecoach Stop and Hotel, and the Ford Barn, could require more than $750,000.
In 1895 Dick McQueary homesteaded the 320-acre 4 Bar 4 Ranch, named after his cattle brand. Dick, his wife Jessie, and a group of neighbors built a roadhouse with family living quarters and dining on the main level and boarding rooms upstairs. The 4 Bar 4 Hotel even hosted a balcony from which visitors could relax in full view of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Fifteen men erected the log sides of the barn and hotel in one day with the finishing taking several more weeks.
In the coming years the ranch served as a stagecoach stop and hotel on the Georgetown Stage Line for travelers making their way over the Continental Divide at Berthoud Pass through the 4 Bar 4 and on to Hot Sulphur Springs. Upon the arrival of the Denver, Northwestern and Pacific Railroad Company in 1905 (known locally as the Moffat Railroad) the need for the stagecoach was largely eliminated. However, the 4 Bar 4 Hotel remained open for travelers coming over Berthoud Pass by horseback and wagon until 1912.
Soon, the old stagecoach line over Berthoud Pass and through the 4 Bar 4 Ranch became an integral part of the “Roosevelt Midland Trail,” the nation’s first highway from Washington D.C. to San Francisco and the first marked transcontinental auto trail in America.
In 1912, Fred Feltch, then owner of the 4 Bar 4 Ranch and Grand County Commissioner, realized that the stagecoach was on the decline and the automobile was on the rise so Feltch began to sell Ford Model T’s. Feltch would pick up the basic auto and associated parts from the local train stop and haul it back to the second floor of the 4 Bar 4 horse barn. There, Feltch would complete final assembly and, presumably, drive the car down a ramp to ground level. (Information courtesy of the Save the 4 Bar 4 organization)
The 4 Bar 4 once again became a cattle ranch in 1917 and remained in use until the late 1980s. Some of the remaining McQueary family will be returning to the Fraser Valley to attend the event. Rob McQueary is a descendant of the McQueary family and will be at the fundraiser. He is currently lives in Nevada where he grew up and discovered the event while researching his ancestors online. He is bringing his sons with him so there will be several generations of McQuearys present at the BBQ. The rest of the McQueary family is spread out through Nevada, Utah, Oregon and other locations.
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Rep. Joe Neguse is pushing to improve access and funding for public lands in Colorado and around the country.