Church Ranch initially gained fame as the first stop on the Overland Stagecoach Route, which linked Denver and Boulder. The historic stop was the home of George Henry Church and his wife Sarah, who arrived from Iowa in an ox drawn covered wagon during their honeymoon in 1861.
Captivated with the breathtaking beauty of the area, they build a house on Walnut Creek between Broomfield and Westminster. Here, they established the Church's Crossing Stage Stop, part of the Overland Stage Route. They provided meals, lodging and livery for weary travelers, including President Ulysses S. Grant and his daughter Nellie.
Innovative and industrious, George Henry Church introduced irrigation to the Front Range from the Continental Divide, providing water necessary to make the valley productive. The same central irrigation system that served Church Ranch more than a century ago now serves Denver's northern suburbs, via the Church Ditch system.
Mr. Church transported the first Hereford cattle to Colorado in 1869, and planted the first successful wheat crop. He was instrumental in Colorado land development and banking.
Frank S. Church and Marcus F. Church followed the same family tradition of ranching, farming, water and land development.
Today, the tradition of growth and prosperity continues at Church Ranch Corporate Center. This strategic landmark, perfectly situated between Denver and Boulder, is the ideal location for progressive companies that want to position themselves for the future.
Church Ranch Companies continues to maintain offices at the location of the old farm on Old Wadsworth Blvd.
Colorado Centennial Farm Highlights
1861 -- George Henry and Sarah Church come to Colorado
First homesteaders in Jefferson County
Brought irrigation from the Continental Divide to the Eastern Slope, so they could supplement their wheat harvest with corn, beets, alfalfa, hay-grass and other crops.
First to harvest successful Winter Wheat crop in the arid Colorado climate
1869 -- The Church Family brought the first Hereford Cattle to the state of Colorado
Started an innovative practice of grazing cattle in the high mountains through the summer to save the low land grasses for winter grazing
1914 -- Church's Crossing/Overland Stage Stop for travelers at the original house on Walnut Creek,was a one day trip from Denver to Church's Crossing, and another day from Church's Crossing on to Boulder
As it was 48 years later. There was a second house and more outbuildings added as time went on. Around this time Church Ranch included approximately 27,000 acres most of which were land grants and homesteads. Most of the land grants were signed by Presidents like Benjamin Harrison and Grover Cleveland, . The documents are on display today at the Church Ranch Corporate Center Headquarters.
1930s -- Charles A. McKay Marries Ruth Katherine Church
Farmer, Rancher and Land Developer. Marcus operated Church Ranch in Grand County with his wife Anne until 1949. He then joined his mother Katherine to operate Church Ranch in Jefferson County. He finalized the sale of land to the Atomic Energy Commission - in approximately 1951. It is now the Department of Energy Rocky Flats Plant.
1989 -- Charles Church McKay and Gregg Bradbury Partner in Church Ranch.
Today -- Charles Church McKay is very active in the community and local government.