Just outside Winter Park, you can find an amazing piece of Colorado’s pioneering history. The 4 Bar 4 Ranch was a stagecoach stop and hotel along the Georgetown Middle Park Stage Line, which traveled over Berthoud Pass between Idaho Springs and Hot Sulphur Springs in the late 1890s and early 1900s.
Homesteading the 4 Bar 4 Ranch
The 320-acre ranch was homesteaded in 1895 by Dick and Jessie McQueary. Within a year, a roadhouse and the stage stop were constructed. Trees from the property were used to build the hotel and barn. The couple provided travelers with lodging and a hot meal along their journey. The 4 Bar 4 Ranch also served those who traveled by horseback or wagon. After the Georgetown Stage Line ended, the ranch continued to host travelers until approximately 1913.
Trains to Automobiles
With the advent of the automobile, the Georgetown Stage Line road was considered an integral part of the Trans-Continental “Midland Trial” highway. And so the 4 Bar 4 Ranch was transformed to accommodate the changing times and technological innovations. The new owner, Fred Feltch, continued to operate the hotel for travelers, but he converted the horse barn into a Ford dealership. Feltch picked up Model Ts from the train station and sold them from the barn for $525. That’s why the old horse barn is known as the Ford Barn. Vehicles were sold on 4 Bar 4 Ranch until 1917.
The property was next purchased by Harry Larkin. The buildings were occupied until the mid- to late-1950s. The 4 Bar 4 Ranch was used for ranching until the late 1990s.
Today, two wooden structures are all that remain of the stagecoach stop – and an important piece of not only Grand County’s heritage but also Colorado’s heritage. Last fall, preservationists sought emergency assistance to ensure the Ford Barn and Stagecoach Hotel survived the winter. They did survive! And now efforts are being made to salvage and restore these historical structures in accordance with state preservation standards.
How you can help
To volunteer, donate, or learn more about the 4 Bar 4 Ranch (yes, donations are needed!), please contact the organizations below. Help preserve Colorado’s wild-west history!
Historic Fraser, Inc. | PO Box 205, Fraser, CO 80442 | Ronda Dorchester: 303.217.1585, firstname.lastname@example.org
Colorado Preservation, Inc. | 420 Ogden Street, Suite 104, Denver, CO 80218 | 303.893.4260 | Jennifer Orrigo Charles: email@example.com