Monday, May 8, 2017

Bradford Perley House



This is a pioneer's tale....In my last blog post--click here--I discussed one of the Native Americans who lived and frequently traveled through the community where I live in Colorado. Before gold was discovered in California in 1848, most of the western territories, including Colorado, were inhabited mainly by indigenous people, fur trappers and settlers of Spanish and Mexican descent.  The California Gold Rush brought the greatest mass migration of people to the western part of the country. By the mid 1850's over 300,000 new people were in California, including immigrants from South America, China, Australia and Europe. The Colorado Gold Rush, which began a decade after in 1859, brought over 100,000 people to Colorado. One of them was Robert Boyles Bradford.


Bradford was born in Davison County, Tennessee in 1813.  He joined with Russell, Majors and Waddell (founders of the Pony Express) to form an overland transportation company. Bradford went on to Denver in 1859 to set up a store for the supplies which the company would transport by stagecoach. He then set up the Bradford Wagon Toll Road to convey miners and settlers from Denver, first to "Bradford City" and then into the foothills to what is present day Conifer and into the mining camps in the mountains, to Tarryall, Fairplay, Leadville and eventually to Breckenridge.


These are the ruins of the original house that Bradford built in 1860 on land he obtained along the foothills of the front range, where he had hoped to establish his "Bradford City."   Bradford left the Russell, Majors and Waddell partnership in 1861, and lived full time in his stone cabin, where he raised cattle and turnips, potatoes, apples and peaches.  Settlers also used the broad valley in this location to rest and water their livestock before heading up the rest of Bradford Wagon Toll Road into the mountains.


 The Name "Bradford" is carved into the original house lintel, facing west toward the foothills.


In 1872 Bradford added on to the house, with a larger eastern entrance, and patterned it after a southern style mansion. It featured eighteen inch walls made from locally quarried hand cut sandstones, and had board floors and a shingled roof.

In 1863, Colonel John M. Chivington used the Bradford house to recruit soldiers during the Civil War. Colonel Chivington was later involved with the Sand Creek Massacre, which I blogged about previously--click here--to read that post.


Some of the apple trees that were noted on an Homestead Act application Bradford made in 1870, are still standing and still produce fruit! 


They are Ben Davis variety, heirloom series.  

An early photo of the addition to the Bradford -Perley House. 

In 1867, Bradford married his third wife, Fannie E. Miller. His previous two wives had passed away before he left Tennessee. Travelers abandoned the Bradford Wagon Toll Road after a newer, more direct route to the mines was built through Turkey Creek Canyon in 1867.  Despite this economic misfortune, Bradford remained in his house until his death on December 29, 1876. Fannie gave up the ranch in 1878.

James Adams Perley purchased the property in 1895. He was a direct descendant of John Adams and John Quincy Adams. Perley was a dairy farmer from Vermont, who came west with the gold rush. He  eventually returned to dairy farming, when he bought the Bradford property. Perley died in 1926, when the house was then sold to John C. Shaffer, who already owned some of the surrounding land.



The great great granddaughter of James Adams Perley can be heard on this short YouTube video talking about her memories of her family.  More history about both Bradford and Perley can be read on this link.

 John C Shaffer's Manor House

John C. Shaffer was born in Baltimore and became a newspaper baron who first owned the Chicago Evening Post and a string of Midwest newspapers. After visiting his son, Kent, in Denver, in 1913, Shaffer expanded his empire with the purchase of the Rocky Mountain News, the Denver Times, and the Denver Republic Newspaper. He built his own large and beautiful Manor House, and did not live in the Bradford Perley House, that was now part of his property, but used it as a place to entertain at times. Shaffer named his ranch after his sons, Kent and Carroll, which he shortened to "Ken Caryl Ranch."   Shaffer was an influential man and was a supporter of President Theodore Roosevelt, who visited the Ken Caryl Ranch on occasions. He was also friend of President Taft and Warren Harding. Unfortunately, Shaffer's fortunes dwindled during the depression and Ken Caryl Ranch was taken over by the banks. Ken Caryl ranch was sold to three other ranchers during the years between 1938 to 1972: Allen, Minissale, and McDannald. None of them lived in the Bradford Perley House, and it fell into disrepair.  More history about the Shaffer year can be read on this link.


Sadly, a fire destroyed the wooded aspects of the Bradford Perley House in 1967, and only the stone frame was left standing.  The Johns Manville Corporation bought the entire ranch property in 1971, and built a campus building which became Lockheed Martin when the The Martin Marietta Astronautics Group bought the property in 1987, and a housing community was developed for its employees, and was mostly completed in 1997. The further history of the community can be read on this link.



The Ken Caryl Historical Society had the Bradford Perley House listed on the Colorado State Register of Historic Properties and worked to secure funding to stabilize the structure. In 2002 it was listed on the states most endangered places and repair to the stone walls was done to preserve the house ruins for its historical nature. It was declared "saved in time" in 2006. The Bradford Perley House was placed on the National Register for Historic Places in February, 2015.



More photos of the Bradford Perley House ruins.


My granddaughter, looking out a Bradford Perley House window.

The Ken Caryl Historical Society members are the stewards watching over the Bradford Perley House and apple orchard.  We help maintain the properties and conduct tours for interested parties and schoolchildren who are learning about their local history.  We are preserving it for future generations to learn about those who came to this area of Colorado in pioneer days.




Knowing our history enriches our lives and helps us to appreciate our surroundings even more. We can imagine those who rode Bradford's wagon road up into the foothills to seek their fortune, and the Perley's ranching days when this was a remote area south west of Denver City. We can appreciate the very land our houses rest on, that was once the large Ken Caryl Ranch of John C. Shaffer, and the subsequent ranchers that came after him.  
The present tells us that we are now a stable Denver suburb that is being surrounded by fast progress and development that has come in recent decades to Colorado.  What will the future bring? That is unpredictable, but we are happy to say that we will do our best to continue to preserve the history of this place for all time.


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34 comments:

Mersad said...

A wonderful post about this historic place. Great images as well. Thanks for sharing with "Through My Lens"

Mersad
Mersad Donko Photography

Maggie said...

What a great informative post you've shared with the MM crowd today, Pat. My imagination is travelling along with those early pioneers and picturing what it might have been like to live in a house like that and work the surrounding land.
You are all doing such a fantastic job of preserving the History of your community, well done!

Gillena Cox said...

Wonderful views. Happy Mosaic Monday

much love...

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

I love to visit and photograph ruins too, especially when the skies are blue! Thank you for linking to Blue Monday!

Tom said...

...what a great history lesson! It's nice to see things being preserved, thanks for sharing.

Rajesh said...

Interesting place. Wonderful shots of the historic house.

Tamar SB said...

You explore the best places!!

Snap said...

Wonderful! I've always thought the history of the "old" west was fascinating. The people had to be tough! Happy Monday!

Lorrie said...

Such an interesting post, Pat. Those early pioneers must be admired for their vision and tenacity in the face of hardship. I find it interesting that the house was built of stone; I wonder if it was local. I'm glad it's being preserved for the future.

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

I love that you have immersed yourself in the history of your area. How wonderful to be involved in the preservation of the Bradford house. The walls are a testimony of its substantial size and strength. Such a darling photo of your granddaughter and her dolly in the window. It's amazing to learn about those who came before us. Have a wonderful week, Pat. ♥

Linda W. said...

So interesting to visit the remains of historic homes. Thanks for the information and photos!

Lowcarb team member said...

Another wonderful post chock-a-block full with history.

I have to say I just love the sweet photograph of your granddaughter and her dolly in the window. Just lovely.

Wishing you a good week ahead.

All the best Jan

Rue said...

I'm so glad that you're helping preserve history. It's so important and I wish more people understood that. That house and it's land are something else. You're convincing me to travel up there more and more, my friend.

xo,
rue

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

This is fascinating Pat...you have really made these walls talk! Thank you for the work you're dong to preserve this interesting history.

Kelleyn Rothaermel said...

Never heard of the place before, but how cool. Thansk for sharing.

jeannettestgermain said...

Wow, thank you for all the history here - gold rush and famous people seem to somehow end up in the same state, lol:) If I would eve move out of California, I hope it would be Colorado - it reminds me on Switserland, but more varied. Many thanks for this great post you're sharing with All Seasons, Pat, and all the work you put into it (as always!). Have a lovely week:)

Lady Fi said...

I love the warm colour of that stonework.

A Colorful World said...

Such a fascinating post! Once again you have entranced me with the history you are sharing!

Daniela said...

Dearest Pat
I heartily thank you for sharing such an interesting story and, you know, I so love historic buildings !

Hope your week is off to a great start, I'm sending blessings to you,
thanks once again and always for such a gorgeous post which to begin a new week with !

MUCH LOVE

XOXO Dany

Jim said...

Thanks for this interesting history.

Sylvia said...

Pat, Thanks for sharing that history which gives perspective to us today.
Have a great day. Sylvia D.

Valerie said...

Love that soft coloured stonework! Thank you for sharing, Pat.

bettyl-NZ said...

I do love learning a bit of history now and then! Thanks for the fabulous photos and all the information, too.

Ann Y said...

Thank you Pat for the wonderful pictures and detailed information. I have sent a few of my nieces to this site when they want to learn about places in NY, Brooklyn and now Colorado. They live in these places but you make the sightseeing so interesting. I've missed so much when I've been to some of the places you talk about, until I read your details I don't really know a place.

Al said...

What a great house and history. Your previous post on the Willowbrook Amphitheatre and surrounding area was interesting, it's a shame it's on private land.

Michelle said...

I can only imagine the hardships of the early pioneers. I find their history fascinating. I enjoyed this post, as I do all of yours. You visit places that I would visit, if I were there. Thanks for linking up today and have a great weekend.

Sharon said...

That's interesting that the Bradford house was used to recruit for the Civil War in this area, as it wasn't in the path of battlefields. The photo of it with windows gives a good idea of what it looked like before it lost all the glass. Great post!

Jim Vail said...

The skeleton of the house seems almost eery! It's wonderful that they are preserving this piece of history. Thanks for the inspiration and for linking up this weekend at #wkendtravelinspiration!

Rhonda Albom said...

This place has a long and meandering history. It's amazing that it is still standing after all the transitions and years.

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

Great informative post - loved all the details of the history of the home.

Rambling Woods said...

I so love your history posts...I am a history buff and love learning new information...Michelle

diane b said...

Interesting history. Don't you wish these old houses could talk and tell stories of the past.It is so good that it is being preserved and looked after. Well done.

Jann Olson said...

I love history and this post was so interesting! Cutie pie granddaughter. :) Thanks for sharing with SYC.
hugs,
Jann

annie said...

Interesting post for sure.
Springtime in the Rockies is lovely.