ALLIS RANCH: GREENLAND, COLORADO : A Pioneer Ranch on the Palmer Divide

Douglas County's historic Allis Ranch lies in a valley of a unique geographic feature named the Palmer Divide. This rare west/east running watershed separates several tributaries of the South Platte and Arkansas River Systems. The seven thousand foot terrain attracts storms year round providing higher annual rainfall than the surrounding area's 17-inch average. Underground aquifers and several springs are also valuable. Add attractive views of Ponderosa and Gamble Oak clad hills, rock rimmed buttes & magnificent Pikes Peak standing to the south and one understands what motivated the poet, Helen Hunt Jackson, to call the area "Greenland."

Allis Ranch's founder, Charles Allis, and his brother, John, came to America from England in 1883 after remarkably surviving an Atlantic shipwreck. Both headed west. John tried mining in the Cripple Creek area and Charles drove freight wagons between Denver and Raton, New Mexico. During his trips over the Palmer Divide, Charles witnessed the success of local cattle ranchers. Soon he entered the business leasing land from the very large Greenland Ranch.

While making a meat delivery to the Last Chance Saloon in Palmer Lake, Charles met his bride-to-be, Wilhelminia (Minnie) Steimle, the proprietor's daughter. Charles and Minnie married in Palmer Lake, the 1901 "social event of the season," as described by the Castle Rock Journal. Starting in a homemade log cabin the Allis's began developing their ranch. Eventually they built a larger ranch house, barn, silo and accompanying outbuildings. As their ranch grew to over 1,700 acres, so did their family of seven children: William, John, Frederick, Beatrice, Alfred and twins Ruth & Ruby. Over a span of several decades the Allis's raised beef cattle, pigs, milk cows and award winning Hampshire sheep. Charles built a 15 acre- reservoir in 1908 that served as source of ice during the winter months. In 1922 Mr. Allis opened a butcher shop in Arvada and sold off most of his ranch leaving 300 acres for his son, William, to run. When his health declined, Charles moved back to the ranch passing away in 1927. Minnie and her family struggled to keep the ranch going through the ensuing Great Depression and war years. Throughout these decades the Allis children and grandchildren became prominent participants not only in Greenland, but throughout Douglas County. Minnie lived on the ranch for nearly 70 years before passing away in 1966.

Alfred Allis picked up running the ranch through these difficult years and into the Post-War era. He married Julia Isabella Hasstedt in 1936. Along with ranching and farming duties, Alfred found time to serve on the Greenland School Board and volunteer for the Larkspur Fire Department. Julia became postmistress for Greenland in 1956, running the office out of their ranch house. Alfred also worked as postmaster for Larkspur in the late 1970s.

Today, Greenland consists of a pair of prominent barns, a few houses, several empty buildings, an Open Space trailhead and acres and acres of ranchland. In its heyday during the late 1880s-1920 the settlement bustled as an important railroad station shipping cattle, agricultural products and lumber all along the Front Range. High altitude Divide potatoes went out in box car loads until a turn of the century blight ended the strain. "In 1893, the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad ran twenty-four passenger trains and twenty freight trains daily through Greenland." *(1) The railroad town not only boasted two railroad stations, the D& RG's plus rival the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe's on the western aligned tracks, but "� two general stores, school, two saloons� blacksmith and wagon making shops, pottery post office." *(1) Nearby Greenland Ranch once covered 22,000 acres and still operates making it the longest, continuously running cattle ranch in Colorado. To the west lies Eagle Mountain Ranch, a Centennial Ranch, owned by the Noe family since 1892. Allis Ranch, west and south of the old town site, also remains a part of the region's rich ranching heritage operating as the Endless Frontier Ranch run by Mile High Bison, Inc.

The buildings still standing on the property include a remodeled two-story ranch house, a wood framed animal barn, a concrete block barn, storage building, a rock lined well and a non-historic pre-fabricated structure. The ranch buildings are located at 1469 Noe Road and the ranch land extends for over a mile to the south between the parallel pair of Burlington Northern/Santa Fe railroad tracks. Since 1997, a conservation easement has kept the Allis Ranch protected along with its larger neighbor, Greenland Ranch. The pristine pastureland, stunning western vistas, abundant wildlife and coveted watering holes still remain intact.

This virtual exhibit is dedicated to Penny Burdick, a tireless advocate for Douglas County, Colorado history and the preparer of this landmark nomination. The exhibit's artifacts were donated by Alfred Allis to Douglas County through Kent Brandebery.

The exhibit includes: historic ranching artifacts, small game traps, early 20th century household items, Greenland Post Office boxes, milk pasteurizer and bottles, car cranks and even a pre-historic stone axe.

Sources: 1) Allis Ranch Landmark Nomination, BOCC Staff Report, Project File: HP2013-002 2) Charles H. Allis and Wilhelminia Steimle Allis biographies, by William Allis, given by Bill Noe to Douglas County History Research Center available in Biography Files. 3) Historic posters found at the Greenland Trail head courtesy of Douglas County Open Space 4) Ancestors of Mary Lynn Allis, DCHRC, 100 S. Wilcox St., Castle Rock, Co 80124, [email protected] 5) Alfred C. Allis obituary, The Castle Rock Chronicle, March 25, 1997, p. 6. Found in the DCHRC's Biography Files.

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