William Converse Ranch

Designated: April 14, 2015
Location: Franktown / Hidden Mesa Open Space
Current Owner: Board of County Commissioners
Nominated By: Melanie Tafaro and Barbara Darden

Historic Significance

The property’s period of significance is 1884-1951; the timeframe when William Converse purchased the property and raised shorthorn cattle, establishing a reputation for some of the finest stock in the area for sixty-seven years.

William Converse migrated to Colorado in 1875, settling in Franktown in 1880.  He married Ida Kracaw in 1885, a year after he purchased the ranch. They had four children, Mary, Charles, Austin, (who died shortly after being born) and Roger.  In addition to being a rancher, Converse also generously gave back to his community.  In 1908, he donated part of his land that was used for the Pikes Peak Grange No. 163, which is State and National Landmark as well as a Douglas County Landmark. Converse served on the Franktown District No. 2 School Board beginning in 1888, and planted over 3,000 different varieties of trees on the south eastern portion of the property, when he filed application to plant trees under the Timber and Culture Act of 1878.

The two-story main house, chicken coop, pump house, and granary are significant as good examples of vernacular architecture, retaining their physical integrity, and design features. The wood-frame two-story main house is distinctive for the unusual style of its front-gabled dormers.  The early additions to the remainder of the house reflect the family’s natural growth and perhaps economic prosperity.   The property retains the historic and spatial integrity associated with the operation of a successful working ranch. The chicken coop, pump house and granary are located behind the residences in a typical spatial relationship to each other.

The one-story 1930s house was moved to this property sometime after 1937, and was likely the home for one of William Converse’s sons involved with the operation of the ranch.  It exhibits Arts and Crafts detailing on its original windows and doors; an architectural style that is unusual in Douglas County.