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The iconic red barn at Arapahoe County’s 17 Mile House and Farm Park will soon be stabilized and preserved with the support of a $200,000 grant from History Colorado – State Historical Fund.
“The 17 Mile House and Farm park is not only a treasured part of the Arapahoe County Open Spaces program, it is an iconic and historic landmark in our community,” said Commissioner Nancy Sharpe, District 2. “Completing the much-needed stabilization of the barn will allow the public to explore and experience this historic jewel – citizens can step back in time to experience the County’s rich pioneer and agricultural traditions and history.”
The 17 Mile House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places through the US Department of the Interior and is the last remaining mile house in Colorado in its original rural location and setting. Originally, the house was a stopping point on the Cherokee and Smoky Hill Trails as gold seekers and settlers made their way west along these wagon routes.
The barn was constructed in the late 1870s. Over the years’ time and the elements have taken their toll on the structure rendering the barn unsafe for public access. The recently awarded grant will support foundation repairs, roof replacement, weatherproofing and reconstruction of the east brick wall of the structure. Once these improvements are complete, the barn will display farm equipment from the 1940s and 50s, will be accessible for public tours, support historical education events, and in the future, agricultural demonstrations from that era.
Arapahoe County Open Spaces, with support from the History Colorado – State Historical Fund, restored the 17 Mile House to its 1940-1950s period of significance representing the dairy farm that was operated during that time period by the Race family. The County offers free monthly tours of the house, educates school groups and is the backdrop for the County’s annual Fall Festival. In 2016, more than 30,000 people explored the historic property. The farm park also serves as a trailhead for the Cherry Creek Regional Trail. Annually, more than 180,000 trail users recreate and commute through this stretch of the regional trail.
The County is providing matching dollars from the Open Space Sales and Use Tax in combination with a donation from the Cherry Creek Valley Historical Society to support the $275,563 project budget.