Beside a quiet country lane on the plains of Colorado, there sits an old house, once the home to a prominent ranching and coal mining family, now a vacant abode where only the memories remain.
Set in a beautiful valley of softly rolling hills and dancing prairie grass, the location took my breath away. It was a photographer's paradise.
Whenever I encounter a place such as this, I wonder who originally lived here and what their life must have been like. Some research yielded a glimpse into the lives of the people who once called this house home.
This is Mary's house. Born in Ireland in 1858, she later came to America, while still a child. In 1882 she met and married Joe Collom, a coal mine owner, and began life on the 1,400-acre cattle ranch. The couple raised two daughters and were highly thought of by their community.
In the early 1900's, the family hosted several dances, open to everyone, as reported by the local newspaper:
Routt County Courier, December 7, 1905
There will be a dance here Friday night at the house of Joe Collom. Everybody invited.
It is also reported that Mary Collom was "an especially fine cook and the ranch was for years noted as a famous stopping place for travelers."
In addition to the house, a well-built log barn still remains.
A newspaper article from the Oak Creek Times reported that Joseph Collom sold the ranch, upon which the coal mine sat, for $70,000.00. This made him one of the wealthiest men in Northwestern Colorado in that year of 1912. He had stated that thirty years previous, he was 'dead broke'. After selling the ranch, the family moved to San Diego, California.
It was a joy and a privilege for me to wile away some time here, on a hot summer afternoon, envisioning life on the ranch. New memories were made as I looked through the camera's lens, capturing bits of the past.
Shop The Story - Prints of the Ranch:
'Summer Afternoon' 'Posted'
'Mary's House No. 2'