Colorado Preservation, Inc, has announced that the 4 Bar 4 Ranch, located on the west side of County Road 5 in the Fraser Valley, is one of five most endangered places in Colorado.
The organization made its announcement during a Feb. 6 luncheon in Denver. Governor Hickenlooper also proclaimed Feb. 6 Colorado Preservation Day during the luncheon.
The 320-acre 4 Bar 4 Ranch was homesteaded in 1895 by Dick McQuery to provide a stop for travelers on the Georgetown Stage Line that traveled through the ranch from Idaho Springs to Hot Sulphur Springs over Berthoud Pass.
The two buildings that still stand on the ranch, which is currently owned by the Stagecoach Homeowners Association, have fallen into disrepair with their roofs caving in and the structures themselves nearly falling down.
Thanks to the recent designation as one of Colorado’s most endangered places, the homeowners association that owns the building can now begin to raise funds to repair the buildings and designate them as a historical site.
The association now plans to create a nonprofit organization for the buildings, which they hope will aid in raising funds to refurbish the buildings and make them accessible to the public, said John Hart, president of the Stagecoach Homeowners Association.
While the label as one of the most endangered places in Colorado does not provide any funding to maintain the site, it does open some doors to funding and grant opportunities, according to Hart.
“The award is the first step, but the work is ahead of us to set up the nonprofit and raise the outside funds and get other people involved,” he said.
The homeowners association inherited the ranch property when the property was first purchased, though it has been tough for the HOA to identify funding sources to maintain the buildings, according to Hart.
“Taking the property out of private hands and putting it into a nonprofit not only allows fundraising to be more efficient,” Hart said, “but it also allows us to get contributions from people outside of the neighborhood and it also turns it into a public property.”
Preserving Colorado’s past
Colorado’s Most Endangered Places Program involves, to date, 101 historic resources across the state. The program has a wide reach, with sites located in 47 of the 64 Colorado counties. As of today, a total of 101 sites have been highlighted through the program and only six have been lost to demolition.
“We have selected five diverse sites this year that span from Colorado’s earliest history to the most recent,” said Rachel Parris, programs manager for Colorado Preservation, Inc., in a press release dated Feb. 6. “In addition to the threats of neglect, deterioration, and natural weathering, (building sites in) the state of Colorado (were) plagued by fire and floods this year, further threatening the great resources found across the mountains and plains. Colorado Preservation, Inc. devotes staff time and resources to raise funds and rally concerned citizens so that listed as well as unlisted sites can be saved. We are proud to be able to work within communities as issues and threats arise in order to advocate for preservation throughout the state.”