The 4Bar4 Ranch is located near the Town of Fraser, Colorado. The Town was officially established in 1904, however the Ranch was homesteaded in 1895 by Dick McQueary. McQueary established a stop for the Georgetown and Middle Park Stagecoach Line that ran between Idaho Springs and Hot Sulphur Springs, over Berthoud Pass. The ranch was one of two stops on the west side of the pass where horses were changed out. For the purposes of the Stagecoach stop, a log hotel and barn were erected utilizing trees on the property.
The hotel remained operational until 1913. From 1913-1917 the Barn was converted into a Ford Motor Company dealership, selling Model T’s*, thus it has become known as “The Ford Barn”. Rumor has it that there was a ramp where they would take the cars to the second level of the Barn for display. JVA, our structural engineer, would likely have panicked should we have proposed such a use for the second story of the structure today.
In 1917, Harry Larkin purchased the property and re-established it as a cattle ranch. The ranch remained operational until the late 1980s when it was left vacant. The property was acquired by the Stagecoach Meadows Homeowner’s Association and unfortunately in 2014 the roof of the hotel collapsed. This led to a focused effort by Stagecoach Meadows and their preservation partners to save these early log structures.
In 2015, Jessica completed a Historic Structures Assessment of the two buildings. At the time, both were in very poor shape. Years of settlement put the bottom rows of logs below grade, resulting in deterioration that shifted the structures. With the roof collapse on the hotel, it was determined that the roof of the barn should be dismantled for safety reasons. The Barn was temporarily shored and a temporary membrane was installed over the top of the existing structure to protect it from further deterioration. The Stagecoach hotel was dismantled, maintaining good sections of the walls in one piece, all parts were labeled and stored.
Since the assessment, through continued funding through the State Historical Fund and support and efforts of Colorado Preservation Inc., the rehabilitation of the Barn has been completed. Our team developed the documents and monitored the construction activities and we are pleased to see the Ford Barn back. The project involved a new foundation below the log structure, replacing deteriorated components, introducing roof trusses and much more. Currently the replacement pieces are discernable, but in a few years the wood will patina to blend with the historic.
This fall/winter we’ve been developing the reconstruction documents for the Stagecoach Hotel. As soon as the Spring weather allows, construction will begin. Stay tuned!
*Fun facts: Natalie comes from a long-line of Ford enthusiasts. When Natalie’s Dad was 19, he and a friend drove a 1929 Ford Model A Sedan from Lees Summit, Mo to Vail, Co for a Model A car show. It was an adventurous trip with break downs and all. Natalie and her family are in the process of restoring their ’72 Bronco and they recently inherited a ’68 Mustang from her husband’s Aunt.