The Hutchinson Homestead, is an important link to our past. We are grateful the Hutchinson family took steps to ensure the homestead was preserved and made available to the public, as will many generations to come. As restoration efforts continue, we are witnessing growth in the learning opportunities available at the homestead. Check our calendar for events scheduled at the Homestead. -ss
This has been an exciting year for the Hutchinson Homestead Ranch and Learning Center. Donated by Dr. Wendell Hutchinson, this 1860s homestead site will become a museum that celebrates the history of high country ranching and a facility that fosters agricultural education. Located on the north side of the highway between Salida and Poncha Springs, the homestead occupies 2.5 acres and boasts a Main House, built in 1872 -73, and 10 original outbuildings including an artifact filled Blacksmith Shop and a 3 hole Privy (one hole obviously for youngsters).
Salida Area Parks, Open Space and Trails (SPOT), the custodians of the Homestead, were informed in May of last year that this project was awarded $260,000 from Saving America’s Treasures, the largest and most successful federal grant program for the preservation of nationally significant historic sites. Art Hutchinson, son of Wendell Hutchinson, was instrumental in getting this worthy project awarded these much needed funds.
Thanks to local support and generous grants from the Colorado State Historic Fund, the exterior of the Main House was restored and the outbuildings have been completely preserved. The funds from the Save America’s Treasures grant will go toward the next phase of work which will include the interior restoration of the Main House, restoration of the fences, landscaping, and the development of exhibits and displays. Although the Hutchinson Homestead Ranch and Learning Center has at least two more phases of work including construction of a Visitor Center, public restrooms, meeting room and parking area, we will be open this summer for tours and a new educational program for children will begin this spring.
Children’s Educational Programs this summer
Farmhands, a project of Guidestone, is offering 3 unique and fun opportunities at the Homestead. Annabel’s Garden, named for the Hutchinson matriarch at the turn of the century, is a children’s garden project that will meet on Wednesdays. Activities will include garden design, seed choice, planting, transplanting, weeding, harvesting, seed saving and food preservation. Children will be creating this modern version of a historic kitchen garden as part of a new 2 acre market garden project to be cultivated this year on the Hutchinson Ranch by Deke and Michelle Darracott. The Traditional Arts Series, on Mondays, will include learning the traditional home skills of spinning, butter, candle and soap making, food preservation, woodworking and blacksmithing. Ranch Camp, offered for 3 days in June, July and August, will provide all kinds of ranch activities and adventures.
Pre-registration is required for all programs. You can find out more information about these programs at www.guidestonecolorado.org (Click on Education Programs in the left column, then scroll mid-page and click on Farmhands, then Summer Programs) or you can reach Andrea Coen at 970 309 3175 or at farmhandsED@gmail.com
An Open House, to show the community the newly rehabilitated outbuildings, will be hosted by SPOT in June. This will be a great opportunity to tour the buildings, visit with the folks from Guidestone and Farmhands, and learn about future plans for the Homestead. Please contact Colleen at 539-6177 for more information about the Open House.