Recent Designations

Designated March 22, 2014

Constructed in 1873 by Colorado’s most successful smelting company, the surviving buildings of the Alma Branch of the Boston and Colorado Smelting Company are a highly visual reminder of the critical role mining played in the founding and development of Alma. The 2-story wood frame building first served as the company office and smelter manager’s residence. The small stone building at the rear of the property formerly housed the engines and boilers that ran the machinery of the sampling works where ore was tested to determine its precious mineral content. After sampling, the ore was smelted in an adjacent building that was demolished in 1909. Slag, a byproduct of the smelting process, can still be found in the area where the large smelter building once stood.
The decision made by Colorado’s most successful smelting company to locate its branch works in Alma demonstrated to the state and the nation the promise of the area’s mines, attracting prospectors, investors, and entrepreneurs to the small mountain community. The buildings also represented a significant milestone in the Boston and Colorado Smelting Company’s history-the first expansion of the highly influential company’s operations outside of Black Hawk. The company’s principal smelter sites in Black Hawk and Argo have been demolished, leaving the Alma buildings as the best-preserved buildings associated with the Boston and Colorado Smelting Company in Colorado. Very few mining-related buildings, especially those from the earliest years of Park County’s mining history, survive with the level integrity exhibited by the Boston and Colorado buildings.

History of the Alma Branch of the Boston and Colorado Smelting Co.

Historic Landmark Designation Presentation - Alma Branch of the Boston and Colorado Smelting Co.

Baker Steiner Barn Interior, 2013 BAKER/STEINER BARN
Jefferson vicinity
Designated October 24, 2013

The Baker/Steiner Barn, constructed circa 1885, is one of the largest and best preserved nineteenth-century double pen log hay barns in the South Park. Located at the base of Kenosha Pass, the barn is a highly visible reminder of the important role that hay production played in the development of ranching in the South Park. At the time the Baker/Steiner Barn was built, hay production was one of South Park’s principal industries. Large quantities of hay were shipped out of the county via rail, but many tons were stored on local ranches to feed cattle during the winter months. Early ranchers therefore constructed large barns, typically of logs, to store their hay. Built by early pioneer David Baker and later owned by Peter Schattinger, the barn is associated with 2 early South Park settlers that, with their families, significantly contributed to the development of ranching in Park County. The barn is particularly exceptional because of its large size and high level of integrity. Though other double pen log barns may be found in the South Park, very few are in as good condition as this barn, which retains the vast majority of its historic material and has undergone relatively few modifications over time.

History of the Baker/Steiner Barn
Whitten Ranch, Main Residence, 2013 WHITTEN RANCH
Jefferson vicinity
Designated June 20, 2013

The history of the Whitten Ranch, commonly known as the Michigan Creek Ranch, illustrates the way in which many cattle ranches in the Jefferson area evolved over time, shedding light on the history of cattle ranching and land development in the South Park from the 1880s to today. From the original 160 acres homesteaded by Albert Whitten in 1883, the Whitten Ranch grew to great prosperity under the capable leadership of Clara Whitten, who divorced Albert in 1895 and took over as sole owner of the ranch. Subsequent owners further expanded the ranch, which eventually encompassed more than 2,000 acres. The economic pressures of the 1980s, however, prompted the sale of the ranch’s water rights and the once vast reaches of the ranch were parceled off and sold in the 1990s. Luckily, the original 160 acre Whitten homestead and its associated buildings have remained intact, serving as a highly visible reminder of the history of cattle ranching in the South Park and the significant contribution that strong women like Clara Whitten have made to the history of Park County.

History of the Whitten Ranch
Mary Gately House, circa 1946 MARY GATELY HOUSE
Designated December 6, 2012

The Mary Gately House and its garage were constructed in 1935 for Mary Gately, one of 6 Gately siblings that moved to Alma around 1930 from Rifle, Colorado. Two of Mary's brothers established the Gately Motor Company in Alma while her other brother Sydney served as General Manager of the London Mining and Milling Company in nearby Mosquito Gulch. Mary worked as a bookkeeper for the Motor Company until the start of World War II, when she sought work elsewhere, but frequently returned to her home in Alma. The residence is a fine example of the type and style of homes built in Alma during the mining boom of the 1930s. Gately expanded the house over time, constructing at least 2 additions that followed the original style of the home. The garage has changed very little since it was first built and is one of the few surviving, unaltered garages from the 1930s in Alma.
The Babbling, circa 1920s "THE BABBLING"
Shawnee Vicinity
Designated September 27, 2012

In continuous use as a summer home since the 1920s, “The Babbling” is an exceptional example of its type. Situated on 40 acres of picturesque mountain land, Albert Teller Orahood and his family combined whimsical features with rustic details to create a secluded oasis where the family could relax and pursue favorite pastimes such as fishing.

Since Harper M. Orahood first arrived in Colorado in 1860, the Orahood family has made a significant impact on the history of Colorado and Denver. Before establishing a highly successful legal practice in Denver, Harper M. was instrumental in the early development of Black Hawk, Central City, and Gilpin County. Described as a highly esteemed and honorable man, biographies of the time spoke highly of his kindness and compassion. Harper M.'s youngest son Albert Teller, and Albert's son Harper M. continued the family tradition by joining the legal profession. Both became well-respected Denver-area attorneys, with Albert serving as a Denver District Judge for a large part of his career.
With high integrity and no contemporary intrusions, the property is an exceptional example of Rustic style architecture and picturesque landscape design set within a natural mountain environment. The Rustic style, characterized by its natural setting and the use of forms and materials that echo early pioneer cabins, gained popularity after 1910, especially in the mountain communities.

History of "The Babbling"