Monday, November 27, 2017

Cherokee Ranch and Castle



Cherokee Ranch and Castle, located 30 miles south of Denver, near the town of Sedalia, was originally built in 1924 by a Denver real estate tycoon named Charles Benson, and his wife Alice, as a summer home for their family. They had a love of English and Scottish Castles and incorporated castle aspects into the style of their house, which included 26 rooms and more than 10,000 square feet of space. They named the house "Chartford" for their sons Charles and Gifford. 

 (All photos and photo collages in this post will enlarge for easier viewing if clicked on)


 As time went on the Gifford sons sold the home and surrounding properties to Mildred Montague Genevieve "Tweet" Kimball, a southern belle and debutante from Tennessee. Tweet needed a new home after a divorce settlement, which included her husband's purchase of a new home for her as long as she moved "west of the Mississippi." In 1954 Tweet and her two sons, Richard and Kirk, moved into what she re-named "Cherokee Ranch." Tweet was an avid equestrian and also purchased the adjoining Blunt Ranch, which increased her land holdings to 3,400 acres.


My husband and I decided to take a tour of Cherokee Castle this past summer. As we waited for the tour to begin we admired the exterior stone walls and slate roof construction, which we later learned on the tour was almost all natural material originally sourced in Colorado


 Some of the beautiful architectural details of the house can be seen in the photos above.


Inside, in the Castle's Great Hall, we were greeted by our tour guide. She began to tell us the amazing life story of the accomplished and interesting Tweet Kimball.



Kimball was the educated daughter of a wealthy family. Her father nicknamed her "Tweet" as a child, and it stayed with her. She was a collector of fine art and antiques and loved to travel to add to her collections. She also loved to host parties, was active in many organizations and fundraised for them.  She collected over 14,000 books, many rare, such as works by Dickens and Audubon and a folio of Shakespeare's works, published while Shakespeare was alive.


Views of some of the rooms in Cherokee Castle


Some examples of the large collection of antique furniture in the castle.


Every nook and cranny had something interesting to see!
..

Kimball's art collection was extensive and included works by fifteenth and sixteenth-century European and original paintings by artists Ruebans, Brueghal, and Pliny the Elder, and original drawings by Sir Christopher Wren, the architect of St. Paul's Cathedral in London.


We were able to climb the narrow steps up to the top of a turret, where we went outside....


...to see these expansive views of the Colorado Front Range.



The city of Denver can be seen in the far distance



On clear days there are mesmerizing views from Pikes Peak in the south to Longs Peak in the north.


Perhaps one of the most fascinating facts I learned from the tour of Cherokee Ranch was that Tweet Kimball was a trailblazer as a woman who had an interest in raising cattle. She bought Santa Gertrudis cattle from Texas to Colorado. This breed was developed to thrive on the native grasses and climate of South Texas brush country. Critics felt these cattle would not do well in the colder Colorado climate, but Tweet proved them wrong. Santa Gertrudis are now bred all over the world, and Cherokee ranch is recognized within cattle breeding circles for this legacy. Tweet went on to establish the Rocky Mountain Santa Gertrudis Association and became the first woman to ever be on the National Western Stock Show's Board of Directors. 

In 1996, Tweet Kimball worked to protect Cherokee Ranch through a Conservation Easement. The foundation holds the deed to the land that is now protected as a wildlife sanctuary, and a small herd of Santa Gertrudis cattle are still bred on the ranch.  Tweet passed away in 1999, and the Board of Directors of the Cherokee Ranch and Castle Foundation, its staff, and volunteers have kept her legacy alive since.


Besides being a museum, the castle and grounds are used for various musical performances, theatrical events, receptions, business conferences, High Tea, and a limited amount of weddings. Check the website for event information, and tour dates, at www.cherokeeranch.org





To get a better idea of the panoramic beauty of the Cherokee Castle's location and views, watch the Youtube video above, or on this link.


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46 comments:

Maggie said...

What an amazing castle to visit, wonderful collections and incredible works of art not to mention the cattle ranch! Tweet's legacy is truly remarkable and I loved touring Cherokee Ranch with you today. Happy Mosaic Monday, have a great week.

bettyl-NZ said...

That castle is certainly impressive! But, I'm a simple girl and that would be way too much house for me!! Your photos of the scenery in the area are lovely.

Rajesh said...

Amazing tour of the castle. The artifacts are beautiful.

eileeninmd said...

Hello, what a wonderful tour of the castle. The works of art and book collection are amazing. I love the views from outside. It is great that the cattle Tweet Kimball brought to Colorado thrived. Tweet is a strange name for a girl. I am glad the place is now a wildlife sanctuary! Wonderful post and photos. Happy Monday, enjoy your new week ahead!

gillena cox said...

Some really interesting mosaics. Happy Mosaic Monday

Muchđź’–love

Daniela said...

Dearest Pat,
I'd never heard about this so wonderful castle which really resembles those built in Scotland during the Middle Age, it's truly gorgeous, thank you for sharing such a Beauty with us !

Wishing you a most lovely new week
with sincere thankfulness

XOXO Dany

A Colorful World said...

Wow! I have added this to my list of Colorado sites I HAVE to visit! Loved your post! The history of the house was fascinating. I was so enthralled by the original artwork and also that Shakespeare folio! If I had money, I'd be like Tweet! Very impressive!

Angie said...

Pat - I am always thrilled to hear about 'pioneering' women. Lately, I have been studying conservation efforts, and so I know about the importance of Conservation Easements - another example of her forward thinking. Well done to Tweet! Thanks for sharing this shining story, and illustrating it with your detailed photos. Have a super week!

Handmade in Israel said...

It does look Scottish! Looks like an interesting place. The scenery in very beautiful too.

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

I always appreciate your expansive views of Colorado.

Su-sieee! Mac said...

I want to visit Cherokee Ranch. She had quite sublime taste. Thanks for the look-see.

Tom said...

...nice divorce settlement! Just a humble little house in the hills. Thanks for sharing this week.

Linda W. said...

Wow, that's quite a house! Interesting story about the occupants too.

Mother of 3 said...

What a beautiful castle and an amazing view!

NC Sue said...

Wow - an astounding place!
Thanks for sharing at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2017/11/very-zen.html

jeannettestgermain said...

Love the stone of this castle.And the art collection is enviable, especially the iconic art pieces! Tweet has quite a history. Many thanks for giving us all the details for All Seasons, so we had a background for all that you showed us! Your posts are always interesting Pat - have a great week!

Al said...

Very nice - this is another place I'll have to add to my list.

Ruth Hiebert said...

Beautiful pictures.The write up sounds so interesting,and those views,WOW!

Tamar SB said...

Wow. Wow. Wow!!

Wandering Wren said...

What an incredible history - built as a summer house, based on a castle, called a ranch did anyone else think that is quite some divorce settlement?! Loved reading about this Pat incredible setting and backdrop with the mountains too.
Wren x

ellen b. said...

Wow beautiful castle, art and views! The views...

Ida said...

What an amazing place. Loads of great art work & wow those views are just outstanding.

Lady Fi said...

An amazing place with great scenery!

Jeanie said...

Oh Pat! What a fascinating post and what a life Tweet had. Her collections are fabulous and so, too, is the castle. I can't imagine what it would be like to have that view each and every day. The stone is magnificent. I'm sure the taxes are, too!

Judee Algazi said...

Thanks for sharing all this interesting information along with your photos.This was all new to me and loved reading about it. We often visit old estates that have been turned into museums and find them fascinating.

Joy@aVintageGreen said...

Fascinating history and legacy, thanks for sharing.
Joy

carol l mckenna said...

Wow! What a place and great photos and Tweet was an amazing woman ~ such ambition and power ~ good for her ~ ^_^

Happy Week to you,
A ShutterBug Explores,
aka (A Creative Harbor)

Lowcarb team member said...

Goodness me, what a wonderful tour of the castle you've given us.
Lovely post and your photographs are a joy to see.

All the best Jan

Mod Lotus said...

Great post, beautiful stunning scenery. I have been to CO many times for skiing but never had a chance to visit anything else. good idea. found you on #wonderfulwednesday https://www.modlotus.com/mt-rigi-winter-day-trip-zurich/

Ruth Rieckehoff said...

Wow, this is a surprise! I wasn't expecting a castle in this area. The place is very well kept and the surroundings are beautiful. This is a great escape from the city!

Lorrie said...

Wow! what an amazing castle to find in the middle of Colorado. The views are incredible. Tweet sounds like a woman with a vision. Wonderful art collection.

Rajlakshmi said...

What a beautiful collection of images. The castle looks fascinating. I hope I get to visit Colorado one day :)

~ Dixie said...

Such a magnificent place Cherokee Castle.
Your photos of the inside of the castle and the countryside are stunning!

Marilyn @ MountainTopSpice said...

What a rich place to visit in history, man-made beauty, and natural beauty! An incredible collection of history in this place, and I love how you do the collages, so nice to tour this place with you, you always do a fine job of transporting one right along beside you to enjoy the sights! I have never heard of this ranch, nor of Tweet, but I was quite intrigued to read and see it through your eyes. :)

handmade by amalia said...

What an interesting place to visit. I'm glad you invited us to come along, learn about the history and about a fascinating and inspiring woman. I've never heard of either.
Amalia
xo

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

This is cool. Just goes to show that the west has strong women as well as rough, tough, cowboys.

diane b said...

A fascinating history of this beautiful place.

Molly Stevens said...

I’m going to have to share this blog with my kids - maybe they’ll decide to move to Colorado as it looks like a great place for a northerner to live who likes the four seasons. What a lovely place and your photos are stunning. I am an RN too, but not quite retired. Working only two days/week as of a couple of months ago. I enjoy the lighter schedule but now I’m looking forward to the next step - retirement!

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

I had never heard of this mansion, but it's now on my wishlist for travel. Wonderful post

Grammy Dee | Grammy's Grid said...

Looks like an interesting place to visit! Thank you Pat for linking up at the #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty #22. I shared your post on Fb, G+, Pin, and Tw.

Sue Loncaric said...

What a beautiful place and the views are amazing. It would be wonderful to stay there for a weekend. Thanks for sharing with us at #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty.

Jackie Mc Guinness said...

This is my kind of place to visit! Love her name, she would be very popular today!

Rambling Woods said...

What an interesting history you shared along with the photos.... Michelle

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

How fascinating! You are such a great tour guide! Had no idea this castle was even there. I laughed that Tweet’s ex insisted on banishing her to “west of the Rockies”... she obviously showed him ... and the world ... that it was a pretty great place to thrive!

Jan Robinson said...

I always enjoy hearing about the lives of other people. Learning about Tweet would have been the highlight for me I'm sure.

Tristan Robin Blakeman said...

What an intriguing post. I didn't know anything about Tweet or her castle, and am glad to have made the discovery! These are, indeed, my favorite kind of blog posts!
Thanks for the research and sharing...as one who also writes similar blog posts, I know the work (and fun!) that it takes to write them!

Belatedly, happy pink saturday!