• History



  • Our staff and volunteers make "way back when" vivid now. Through tours and public programs, we keep the stories of the past relevant to our lives today. Hiwan Homestead Museum in Evergreen is your front door for learning about history in Jeffco Open Space, with indoor and outdoor programs for people of all ages. Enjoy other passages to the past, including summer tours of the lodge known as Baehrden of the Rockies, at Pine Valley Ranch Park, and a visit to the west entrance of Mount Falcon Park to view the ruins of a structure once envisioned as a summer White House for U.S. Presidents.

    Check out our park histories, listed on the individual park pages, to learn more.

  • More History Information and Pages

  • Historical Highlights

    Hiwan Homestead Museum

    The vibrant history of Jefferson County comes to life at Hiwan Homestead Museum. A magnificent, 25-room log lodge is the centerpiece of the grounds. This Colorado rustic architectural classic evolved from a one-room cabin constructed in 1893. 

    Read more on Hiwan Homestead Museum »

    Pine Valley Ranch – Baehrden

    Tucked in among towering ponderosa pines, Baehrden stands sentry over Pine Lake. The 27-room lodge was built for Chicago executive William Baehr and his family in 1927. Since acquiring the lodge with the 820-acre property in 1986, Jeffco Open Space has worked to preserve its exterior. After extensive restoration, visitors are able to enjoy summertime tours.

    Read more on Baehrden at Pine Valley Ranch >>

    Mount Falcon – Walker Ruins

    A short trail at Mount Falcon forays from the west to reveal the rags-to-riches-to-rags story of visionary John Brisben Walker. Remnants include stone walls of his early-1900s home and the cornerstone of a would-be summer White House for U.S. Presidents. Later, the Kirchhof family built a wooden tower, situated along Tower Trail, which visitors can climb to survey wonders of the landscape that never cease to amaze.

    Read more on the Walker Ruins at Mount Falcon Park >>

    Alderfer/Three Sisters – Blair Ranch

    The earliest land patent associated with the Blair property was issued on August 24, 1896 to Henry Venable. This land patent encompassed the southern 160 acres of the property. Halsey P. Gabriel homesteaded the northern 160 acres of the property in 1903.

    Read more on Blair Ranch at Alderfer/Three Sisters Park >>

    Apex Park – Toll Roads

    Finding “mining the miners” brought more wealth than prospecting for rare gold strikes, entrepreneurs began building toll roads to the gold-mining camps. They founded rough supply towns along their toll roads, including Arapahoe City, Golden Gate City, Boulder City, Golden City, Mount Vernon, Bradford City, Piedmont and Apex.

    Read more on the toll roads at Apex Park >>