In the early 1860s, pioneering settlers built a log cabin at this site next to Deer Creek, as it was the only source of water available for miles. The trees growing along its banks provided shade from the hot summer sun and protection from the harsh winter winds. Denver was a four-hour ride away on horseback.
In 1866, Frank Hildebrand bought the log cabin and a large piece of surrounding land. He married Elizabeth Trich in 1873, and over the years they constructed barns and other structures necessary to sustain their growing family and their ranching business. It was no simple job. They had to develop an understanding of the high plains ecosystem of this region, where growing crops and raising livestock would be very different from their homeland in Germany.
In these arid grasslands against the foothills, they built a business from a small cabin and vegetable garden into a thriving farm and ranch housing 600 head of white-faced Hereford cattle.
As you walk through the ranch, notice that the Hildebrands situated the structures on the site with an understanding of the necessary relationships between farm buildings and the environment. The house, garden and summer kitchen were built near the creek to take advantage of the steady flow of water. The vital triad of stable, milking barn and wagon shed are clustered together in order to block the westerly winds.
The site also includes a schoolhouse (built in 1874); granary; icehouse; wood and blacksmith sheds. Recently renovated, the blacksmith shop is fully functional.
Hildebrand Ranch is on the National Register of Historic Places.