The ranch sits on land that had been used for thousands of years as hunting, gathering, and camping grounds by Native inhabitants including the Ute, Cheyenne and Arapaho. It wasn’t until the early 1860s that Euro-American settlers built a log cabin at the site next to Deer Creek. The creek was the only source of water available for miles, and trees growing along its banks provided wood for fires and protection from sun and wind.
From Cabin to Cattle Ranch in the Semi-Arid West
In 1866, the Hildebrand family bought the log cabin and the surrounding land. In these dry grasslands nestled against the foothills, they turned a small cabin and vegetable garden into a thriving farm and ranch with 600 head of Hereford cattle.
When you walk through the ranch, you'll notice that the structures were built with careful consideration of the landscape. The house, garden and summer kitchen were built near the creek to take advantage of the flow of water. The 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.