The history of Conifer lives on in the buildings and landmarks that we pass by every day.  Some others are gone, but equally interesting to remember.

The 1860s homestead of George O. Kennedy was 583 acres and known as Beaver Ranch. It’s location was where the Bradford Toll Road intersected Kennedy Gulch – today the junction of Highway 285 and Foxton Road. Beaver Ranch was a favorite stop on the trail to Leadville because it had cold spring water, good corrals, and hotel space for the men and families who made their way to the mountains seeking gold. The first Conifer Post Office was located at Beaver Ranch. The Kennedy home was built over a period of 20 years, starting with 2 cabins that stood close together. A third room was then added to connect the cabins, along with a roof covering all 3 buildings. Later a second story and a porch was added. The red barn close to Highway 285 was also part of the original ranch. 


In 1895 Willie and Laura (Oakes) Bennett purchased Beaver Ranch. The Bennett’s hosted community events at the Ranch, including rodeos with bucking bronco contests. Eventually the ranch was owned by James Quigg Newton, Sr. the father of Quigg Newton, Denver mayor from 1945 to 1951. In 1939 Mr. Newton donated 583 acres to the Grace Methodist Church. In 1951 a portion of the property was established as Camp Newton, a camp for both girls and boys ages eight to thirteen. The Camp was operated by the Beaver Ranch Foundation supported by the Kiwanis. The stone chapel visible from Highway 285 dates back to this time and the camp directors – H.R. and Ginnie Linville – lived in a home at the rear of the chapel. 


In 1968 the camp changed its name back to Beaver Ranch and became a camp for under-privileged children, run by the Kiwanis Club. In 1995 the camp became the responsibility of the YMCA of Metro Denver.  


The large parcel on the north side of Foxton Road was donated to the Denver Mountain Park System and was named Newton Park. The park was one of the last to join the Denver Mountain Park SystemIt features large shelters, potable water, electricity, restrooms, and recreation areas for private group retreats with spectacular views to the south. 


In May 2001 Jefferson County Open Space purchased the land on the south side of Foxton Road from the YMCA and entered into an agreement with Beaver Ranch Community, Inc. to jointly manage and operate a community park. It is used for many purposes including private events and festivals. 

View images of Beaver Ranch here

In 1860 the McIntyre family immigrated from Canada to Conifer and created one of the most recognizable properties in our area.  Duncan and Elizabeth brought their sons John (24), Duncan (18) and Daniel (13) and their daughter Elizabeth (20).  The homestead property eventually totaled 480 acres where the current Midway House and Meyer Ranch are located, as well as a 160 acres to the east. Four more families made their mark in the subsequent years and now this property is one of Conifer’s jewels as a Jefferson County park and historic home.

Read the full story Meyer Ranch History
View pictures here (more to be added soon)

Did you know this historic Jefferson County Landmark was once the site of a stagecoach holdup? Clifton House – now on the beautiful venue Conifer Ranch – has a storied and colorful history that dates back to 1875 when it was Rudolph Pollitz’s homestead cabin.

That cabin was what is now the back portion of the current home, before it was expanded into a 2-story, 14-room home. After Rudolph and his wife Mary Long Pollitz, their son Charles Long and his wife Tillithy lived there with their 6 children. In that era, the Denver-Leadville Stagecoach Road used to run in front of the home and the couple ran it as a stagecoach stop and hotel. That’s when the holdup occurred – with the bandits bursting into the barn, stealing horses and racing off.

Clifton House is also known for running the local telephone exchange for over 30 years and a handwritten newspaper – the Rocky Mountain Boomerang – in 1896.

You can catch a glimpse of it across from Kings Valley still today, or host a private event to see it up close and in person!

View pictures here

Stay tuned for history on more landmarks!