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 landholdings 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, Brueghel, 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... 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

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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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

"November comes 

And November goes,

With the last red berries

And the first white snows.

With night coming early,

And dawn coming late,

And ice in the bucket 

And frost by the gate.

The fires burn

And the kettles sing,

 And Earth sinks to rest,

Until next Spring."

"November" ~ Elizabeth Coatsworth

Colorado certainly has given many photographic opportunities to illustrate this poem

Thanksgiving 2016

In the United States the fourth Thursday of November is celebrated as Thanksgiving Day. Families gather together and give thanks for all the year's blessings before they dine on the bounty of their favorite holiday foods. It has also been a special time for our family, as our daughter was born at the end of November and we always have an ice cream birthday cake for her as part of our dessert selection.   We usually have the grandchildren lead us in saying grace, as they love that honor.

Thanksgiving Day is a wonderful day full of good food and the love of family and friends. I hope you will also have a joyful day, and a year ahead filled with many new blessings to be thankful for!

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Sunday, November 12, 2017

A Long Weekend in Arizona

I was away last week, on a short trip to the beautiful state of Arizona. My husband and I enjoyed visiting our family members that live there, and we were especially excited to meet our niece and nephew-in-law's twin babies for the first time.  (All photo collages will increase in size for easier viewing if clicked on)

We also enjoyed a day visiting the very scenic Superstition Mountains and the Goldfield Ghost Town, which is a replica of an 1890's gold mining town.

We also attended a beautiful moonlit, outdoor wedding and reception. Everything was so perfect! We were happy to share this happy occasion, and we wish the new couple much love and happiness.

We are back in Colorado, where autumn colors have faded and the mountains await their mantles of heavy snow. Ski resorts have opened for the season with the aid of man-made snow, but on the Front Range, the weather has remained mild during the day and frosty at night.  

I've already begun shopping and preparing for the Thanksgiving holiday--how about you?  I host every year and make all the usual favorites.  Busy times are ahead--the best times of the year!

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