Over the past year, Historic Fraser Inc. has raised more than $50,000 to restore the historic 4 Bar 4 Ranch in Grand County.
The organization plans to apply to History Colorado for a grant to help with the restoration of the ranch, which was listed as one of Colorado’s Most Endangered Places in 2014.
In 2015, the effort received a grant from the State Historical Fund to complete a Historic Structures Assessment of the buildings. Historic Fraser took ownership of the buildings and is working to stabilize them.
“Part of the building was deconstructed to keep it from getting worse,” says Jennifer Orrigo Charles, executive director of Colorado Preservation Inc., which operates the Endangered Places program. “The goal is to get both buildings stabilized and install interpretive signs out front.”
The next phase, expected to occur next year, will be the restoration of the barn, which will be completely dismantled. A foundation will be poured where none existed before, and the barn will be reconstructed using salvaged logs and supplemented with similar materials.
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“We will have workshops this summer to train volunteers so they can work efficiently and safely and keep within the best practices for historic preservation,” says Ronda Dorchester, president of Historic Fraser Inc.
The 320-acre 4 Bar 4 Ranch was homesteaded in 1895 by Dick McQueary to provide a stop for the Georgetown Stage Line, which ran from Idaho Springs to Hot Sulphur Springs over Berthoud Pass. A hotel and barn were built using trees from the ranch property, and the hotel remained open for travelers coming over Berthoud Pass until 1913. McQueary was also responsible for building and maintaining many Grand County roads, including Trail Ridge Road from Grand Lake to the summit of the Continental Divide in Rocky Mountain National Park.
After the stage line closed, the ranch continued to host travelers until 1912 or 1913, when it was purchased and converted into a Ford Motor Co. dealership. The property was purchased again in 1917 by Harry Larkin, who turned it back into a working cattle ranch until the late 1980s.
The buildings have been vacant for more than twenty years without any maintenance. The harsh weather has degraded the integrity of the structures, with the log walls carrying the weight expanding outward and forcing the logs to come loose.