About The Santa Maria Ranch Near Hartsel In The Colorado Rocky Mountains
As with so much of Colorado, the Santa Maria Ranch and the nearby town of Hartsel is rife with history and culture. At Santa Maria Fly Fishing, we're proud to be a part of this history with historic structures on the ranch dating back to the late 1870s. Originally, this estate was known as the EM Ranch before being renamed in the 1950s after the Santa Maria Springs, which reside on the property. For much of this ranch's history, it was used to raise sheep and other livestock before its bisecting middle fork of the South Platte River became a premier destination for fly fishing in Colorado.
In 2002, the application to recognize the structures on the Santa Maria Ranch within the National Register of Historic Places was submitted and later accepted. Of the seventeen structures on the ranch, thirteen offer historic significance and remain much as they were over a century ago. These include a blacksmith shop, bunkhouse, barn, and the main ranch house. Together, the various structures and resources on the Santa Maria Ranch paint a vivid historical picture of ranching in South Park, Colorado.
It all started when a man named Hardy Epperson established the ranch as a homestead in 1874, and it was Mr. Epperson who is said to have been among the first to take out a ditch in the area. He improved the flow of the warm spring and made other improvements to the property. Future owners expanded the ranch through homesteads of their own and the acquisition of neighboring homesteads. An owner named Fehringer was credited with greatly expanding the irrigation system on the ranch, which allowed large amounts of hay to be produced and sold in the Denver area. The ranch was later owned by Chalmers-Galloway Livestock Company.
About The Town Of Hartsel, Colorado
The historical significance of this idyllic area of the Colorado Rocky Mountains extends to the nearby town of Hartsel. It was founded in 1866 at an elevation of 8,864 feet. Of course, the area was popular with trappers and traders going back to the late 1700s. However, it was when Sam Hartsel arrived in the area searching for gold that the town began. Mr. Hartsel soon realized that he could make a better living for himself by feeding the gold miners than he cold digging for gold. With his success, he established his own ranch for cattle and sheep along with a thriving hotel. Today, the nearby Buckley Ranch remains in similar condition as it did in the 1930s, and it is part of the Spinney Mountain State Wildlife Area.
When you book your next fly fishing trip on the private waters of the Santa Maria Ranch, you'll also have the opportunity to experience the rich agricultural history of Park County, Colorado. Of course, we understand if you can't pull yourself away from guided fly fishing on our pristine section of the South Platte River's Middle Fork with Santa Maria Fly Fishing.