Welcome to Rock Ledge Ranch

Last week’s post featured a picture of one of the former tuberculosis huts, which was re-fashioned into the entrance booth for the Rock Ledge Ranch. It inspired me to re-visit my photo archive with copious images of what is another one of my favorite go-to places. This special site is now owned by the city of Colorado Springs, and operated as a historical park. Assorted buildings, some of them original, some reconstructed, commemorate and celebrate different eras of human land use. During special living history events throughout the year, volunteers clad in period costumes and equipped with corresponding tools and gadgets bring the olden days to life by demonstrating what it might have looked like for previous generations.

Mein Blogbeitrag vergangene Woche enthielt das Bild einer ehemaligen Tuberkulosehütte, die zur Eingangsbude für die Rock Ledge Ranch umgestaltet wurde. Es inspirierte mich dazu, mein Photoarchiv durchzuschauen, das zahlreiche Ansichten eines weiteren Lieblingsortes enthält. Dieser besondere Fleck befindet sich heutzutage im Besitz von Colorado Springs und wird als historischer Park betrieben. Allerlei Gebäude, von denen einige originell und andere rekonstruiert sind, erinnern an verschiedene Epochen der Landnutzung. Während spezieller Veranstaltungen, bei denen Freiwillige traditionelle Kleidung tragen und den Gebrauch alter Werkzeuge und Maschinen demonstrieren, werden die Zeiten und Bräuche früherer Generationen wieder zum Leben erweckt.

The open shelter exemplifies the period when American Indians, who had called this region home for millenia, exchanged goods with newly arrived trappers and traders. This was followed by the era of homesteaders. We know that a Mr. Galloway lived in a log cabin on the grounds in the 1860s. After the Chambers family purchased his homestead claim in 1874, they built a handsome stone structure and christened their possession Rock Ledge Ranch, as it was perched on the verge of the iconic rock formations of Garden of the Gods. The Chambers became successful farmers and ranchers and were renowned for their orchards and boarding house. General Palmer, founding father of Colorado Springs, purchased their land at the beginning of the 20th century. To welcome his sister-in-law and her husband, who had resided in Cape Town for a number of years, he commissioned well-known local architect Thomas MacLaren to build the elegant Orchard House in the in the Cape Dutch style representative of the Cape of Good Hope. A smithy, workshop, barn, carriage house, and general store round out the structures.

Der offene Unterstand erinnert an die Jahre, in denen die Indianer, die diese Gegend jahrtausendeleang ihr eigen genannt hatten, mit den neuangekommenen Trappern und Händlern Waren austauschten. Diesen folgten die ersten Siedler, und es ist bekannt, daß ein Herr Galloway hier in den 1860er Jahren in einer Holzhütte lebte. Nachdem die Familie Chambers 1874 sein Land erwarb, baute sie ein schmuckes Haus aus Stein und taufte ihren Besitz Rock Ledge Ranch, weil er an die bekannten Felsformationen des Garden of the Gods angrenzte. Die Chambers wurden zu erfolgreichen Farmern und Ranchern, und waren für ihre Obstbäume und Fremdenpension bekannt. Der Gründer von Colorado Springs, General Palmer, erstand Anfang des 20. Jahrhunderts das Grundstück und beauftragte den angesehenen Architekten Thomas MacLaren, ein elegantes Gebäude in einem für Südafrika typischen Stil zu errichten. Dieses Orchard House bot er seiner Schwägerin und ihrem Mann, die einige Jahre in Südafrika verbracht hatten, als Heim an. Außer diesen Bauten gibt es noch eine Schmiede, eine Werkstätte, eine Scheune, ein Kutschenhaus sowie einen Krämerladen.

To enlarge a photo, click on it. To read its caption, hover cursor over it .

Zum Vergrößern, das Bild bitte anklicken. Um den Titel zu lesen, mit der Maus darüber schweben.

The entrance booth is in use only during those five or six special annual occasions that draw large crowds of visitors. On four days during the summer months, the general store sells ticket for those interested in touring the interior of the former residences. But the park itself is open and free to anyone all year long. Despite its proximity to often-overrun Garden of the Gods, Rock Ledge Ranch itself remains a destination where one can be alone with plentiful wildlife as well as with a number of tame critters. To someone, who still dreams of being a farm girl, the latter serve as additional magnets. Among the occasional pigs and the always-present chickens, sheep, and horses, my favorite is 10-year-old Pumpkin, the Jersey cow. According to her caretaker, who daily cleans the stables and replenishes the animals’ provisions, she might live another two decades. To see her sweet face and long eyelashes and to observe her and her fellow denizens are some of the reasons why I direct my steps to Rock Ledge Ranch time and again.

Die Eingangsbude wird nur an fünf oder sechs besonderen Anlässen im Jahr genutzt, die große Menschenmassen anziehen. An vier Wochentagen während der Sommermonate kann man Eintrittskarten in dem kleinen Laden erwerben, um die Innenräume der ehemaligen Wohnstätten zu besichtigen. Doch der Park an sich ist das ganze Jahr lang offen, und umsonst zu genießen. Trotz seiner Nähe zu dem oft überlaufenen Garden of the Gods ist es noch möglich, auf der Rock Ledge Ranch mit allerlei wild lebenden und zahmen Tieren alleine zu sein. Für eine, die noch immer davon träumt, auf einem Bauernhof zu leben, ist das ein zusätzlicher Magnet. Unter den gelegentlichen Schweinen und den stets präsenten Hühnern, Schafen und Pferden ist die zehnjährige Jerseykuh „Pumpkin“ (Kürbis) meine besondere Favoritin. Laut ihrem Pfleger, der täglich die Ställe ausmistet und die Tiere füttert, dürfte sie noch zwei weitere Jahrzehnte leben. Um ihr liebliches Antlitz samt langen Wimpern zu erblicken, und um ihr und ihren Mitgeschöpfen zuzuschauen, zählt zu den Gründen, warum ich immer wieder meine Schritte zur Rock Ledge Ranch lenke.

54 thoughts on “Welcome to Rock Ledge Ranch

  1. Wow — I work trimming horses at a far-out-of-the-way ranch, about an hour to the West of my area, established in 1890 and still in the same (now 3rd generation German/American family), and with a very similar feel. Our ranch was previously inhabited by the Chumash (Coastal California) native American peoples. It is at a lower elevation than where I live, with pinon pines, hemlock, giant native cedar trees, spring-fed ponds and fascinating rock formations. Also, I milked cows for several years in Washington State in my late teens and early 20s, predominately Holsteins (black and white), but one farmer had both a Jersey and a Guernsey, which were my favorites :)) Best to you, Tanja :)) Great pics and farm-life memories! :)) Dawn

    Liked by 4 people

    • You are correct, Mr. P, many volunteers bring this place to life during special events.
      I don’t know how it’s funded, but assume the money comes from the city budget, entry fees during special events, sales at the gift shop, and donations.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Well observed, Steve. Your statement applies to nearly all locations in the region, as some portions of the Front Range are visible from nearly everywhere.
      Rock Ledge Ranch is blessed with having Garden of the Gods as its neighbor, as well as with gorgeous views of Pikes Peak.

      Like

  2. This essay reminded me of colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. It’s a reconstruction that shows how the town looked long ago. I remember being there with my family when I was very young. I suppose it’s still there, though I haven’t heard about it in years.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Always fascinating to see how folks lived in the “olden days.” (I think I might be getting to the age where my childhood counts as the “olden days.”) Also, Pumpkin certainly hit the bovine jackpot. Long may she live!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Genau, liebe Christa. Solche Orte hast Du ja auch in der Nähe, über die Du immer wieder gerne berichtest.
      Du hast bestimmt auch gehört, daß alle Flüge aus Europa in die USA mindestens einen Monat lang ausgesetzt werden. So etwas hat es noch nie gegeben. Leider wird diese Situation jetzt erst mal schlimmer, bevor sie sich entspannt.
      Sei herzlich gegrüßt,
      Tanja

      Liked by 1 person

  4. How beautiful💚 I love the mountains~Colorado being at the top for my favorite mountainous area. Your views are stunning. And the rich history surrounding the area~amazing. I can’t believe I’ve never been to Rock Ledge Ranch. To just walk the grounds, relish the farm, and love on the animals~all while soaking in the views~would be heaven. ❣️

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Schlimm sieht es hier inzwischen aus. Das Gefahren Risiko ist auf “hoch” hochgestuft worden. Bankfilialen schließen, obwohl wir noch mit allem versorgt werden sollen.
    Das Virus macht vor Niemanden halt.
    Mich freuen deine Hof Aufnahmen. Etwas in der Art haben wir im Bürgerpark. Ich frage mich gerade, ob man da überhaupt noch hin darf?
    Zoos und Tierparks wurden alle geschlossen. Auch innerhalb Deutschlands soll man jetzt nicht mehr reisen.
    Pass auf dich auf, liebe Tanja.
    Viele Grüße
    Brigitte

    Liked by 1 person

  6. As someone who grew up surrounded by the relics of the 1850’s, I always enjoy the feeling of RLR. It brings back pleasant memories of a vanished time and life. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Andy, I’m glad you can relate on several levels. I didn’t grow up among such relics, but they were definitely still around. Now as then, they create a not altogether happy sense of nostalgia. I can’t help but feel the loss of simpler, if not necessarily easier, times.

      Like

  7. I love places like this, and how wonderful that it is mostly free of charge. What a great place for families to visit. The history of everyday people is so important for the health of our country. Shouldn’t visiting history like this be just as important as visiting Disney fantasy? Ha ha, I’ll get off my soapbox now, but what a lovely post, Tanja! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the post, Julie. It really is a lovely and peaceful place, and it is nice to see little kids admire and talk to the animals (this is not a petting zoo, though at times, when the animals get to graze on the lawn, the caretaker allows someone to touch one of the mellow sheep).
      I definitely also prefer this kind of setting to Disney!
      Stay well,
      Tanja

      Like

  8. There’s a wonderful little connection between your post and Texas. The Jersey cow who is the “mascot” and model for Bluebell Creamery in Brenham, Texas, is named Belle. You can see her doing her thing here. I think she and Pumpkin would get along just fine!

    You’ve reminded me, too, that one of my great aunts married and moved to Colorado with her new husband. She actually submitted an entry to the contest to select a state song. It was family legend that she won the contest, but I did some research on that and found it wasn’t true. “Where the Columbines Grow” by A.J. Fynn was adopted as Colorado’s first official state song in 1915. Eventually, John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High” became a state song, too, in 2007.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for making me smile, Linda. As far as commercials, that’s a lovely one. I didn’t know that Bluebell ice cream came from TX!
      I think it’s special that your relative submitted an entry to the state song contest, even if she didn’t win (I bet your family didn’t want to hear that 🙂 ).
      Best,
      Tanja

      Like

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