Church Ranch, 10050 Wadsworth Parkway (view map)
State Resource No. 5JF.971
The present-day Church Ranch provides an excellent reminder of the agricultural heritage of Westminster and northern Jefferson County. Seventeen structures make up the Church Ranch headquarters at the southeast corner of Wadsworth and Church Ranch Boulevard include a number of farm buildings from the 19th century, including a grand old three-story barn that overlooks City open space along Walnut Creek.
The Church family were pioneers in securing water rights, constructing irrigation ditches and reservoirs, and experimenting with dry-land crops to promote agriculture and ranching in Colorado’s dry climate. Congress opened a large area of the Territory of Colorado to settlement prior to survey of the land. The 1861 survey identified a wagon freight route between Denver and Boulder that included a stop in the vicinity of Wadsworth Boulevard and 103rd Avenue. This location was also noted as a stop on the Cherokee Trail between Denver and Fort Collins. On the survey, the site was shown as Childs Station.
The 160 acre site, plus one hundred cord of wood was purchased from Mr. Childs by Frank and Sarah Church in 1864 for $1,000. Soon, several small wooden structures were purchased from a neighboring farm and moved to the Church property. The Churches built a two-story frame house and the stop became known as Church’s Stage Stop. The two-story house became the bunkhouse for the station when the Churches built a new and nicer two-story house in front of the bunkhouse.
The Churches operated the stage stop until 1869 when Wells Fargo discontinued the stage route. The Churches continued to run the stop for bull whackers (oxen teams), who hauled hay from the St. Vrain and the Platte to the mining districts.
Learn more about the history of Church Ranch and the Church family.