In the late 1800s, Colorado was still a relatively isolated place, but that was rapidly changing. With the 1859 Pikes Peak or Bust Gold Rush, Denver had come to the attention of the world and was exploding in size and diversity. Gold mining towns were springing up everywhere in the mountains west of there. Colorado Springs, on the other hand, had a slightly sleepier start on July 31st of 1871 as a healthcare and tourist destination for easterners suffering from consumption (tuberculosis). The continental railroads had come to the Colorado territory by 1873, with the Front Range trip between Denver and Colorado Springs being served by the more local Denver & Rio Grande as early as October of 1871.
As more and more miners arrived in the state, others came to provide services for them. Pretty soon a series of small towns began springing up all along the Front Range as well; towns like Husted, Frog Hollow and Piedmont. Some of them were lumber towns, some were railroad towns, and others were populated by farmers, ranchers and families. Many of the farmers in these northern El Paso County towns relied on the old wagon trail that connected them to the railroad depot in Pring, just to the east, to move their crops and products to market. That wagon trail is now known as Baptist Road.
Most of these old towns have long been lost to history as modern highways and subdivisions buried them under progress. The town of Husted is a prime example of that. Located on and near what is now the Air Force Academy, Husted was once a busy railroad terminal town for the Sante Fe and Rio Grande and the Denver and Rio Grande railroads. It boasted hotels, farms, ranches and lumber mills; like the Teach-out Ranch, O.P. Jackson farm and the stock and lumber ranch of Joseph Reynolds.
By 1878, Husted had it’s own U.S. Postal Service. Sometime later, in the early 1880s, Joseph and Sara, with their four children, decided to come west from Pennsylvania to Colorado. Joseph had served in the 105th PA during the Civil War and was ready to start over in the wide-open spaces of Colorado.
The Reynolds found their perfect place in the tiny town of Husted and got to work building a dairy farm and cattle ranch. Their ranch and farm supplied fresh milk and cattle stock via the railroads to Colorado Springs and the Tri-Lakes region. They also operated a sawmill on their land, processing lumber from the nearby Black Forest and Front Range for sale to homebuilders in El Paso County.
The Reynolds family owned the Reynolds Ranch until 1901. After that, it passed through the hands of a few local farmers and ranchers who carried on the farm tradition.
Though the Reynolds are no longer with us here in Colorado, their home and ranch still are, and it is one of the oldest remaining and intact ranches on the Front Range of Colorado. Purchased in 1977 by the Ferrar family, the Reynolds Ranch now houses the Western Museum of Mining and Industry and 27 acres of original ranch buildings like the Reynolds house, the old barns and bunkhouses; and newer additions like industrial era steam engines, the country’s only operating Stamp Mill, a blacksmith shop, donkeys and the state’s best haunted house.
On Oct.11 and 12, the Western Museum of Mining and Industry will celebrate that pioneer farming and ranching spirit that led so many to come to Colorado, and helped shape the towns of Husted and Colorado Springs.
Join the museum for the annual Reynolds Ranch Harvest Festival, only at the Western Museum of Mining and Industry. The weekend’s festivities will include a pumpkin patch, hayrides, pioneer games, live music, food and drinks, a farmer’s market, animals, hands-on activities and crafts for the kids, operating outdoor and indoor steam powered machinery, “Spooky Histories” in the museum’s exhibit building, limited daylight tours of the Haunted Mines, early Christmas shopping and a historic tractor or two will be on display.
Admission is only $6 per person. Check out www.wmmi.org for more information.