History

The rich history of Rock Ledge Ranch stems back to the time of the Native American Ute and Plains Indians in the early 1800’s.

The 1862 Homestead Act and Pacific Railway Act prompted Westward settlement. By 1867, Walter Galloway came to Colorado to homesteaded the land.

At the height of the Victorian Era in the 1874, the Chambers Family hoped the cool, dry Colorado air would bring health benefits. They relocated to the area that would become Rock Ledge Ranch. They purchased the land from Walter Galloway for $1,400, and began building the Rock Ledge House. After farming for 26 years, the Chambers decided it was time to retire. They relocated once more to California.

General William Jackson Palmer, credited as the founder of Colorado Springs, purchased the land from the Chambers Family in 1900. In 1906, Palmer commissioned noted architect, Thomas MacLaren,  to design a residence near the orchard for Palmer’s wife’s half-sister, Charlotte, and her husband, William Sclater, the noted ornithologist and British colony museologist. They were relocating to Colorado Springs from Capetown, South Africa. Included in the home were modern conveniences such as indoor plumbing and electricity. The Sclaters lived there until General Palmer died in 1909, and then returned to Mr. Sclater’s native England.

In 1938, the Chambers Ranch, as it had been called, was acquired by the Dent family. The new renovations on the Sclater’s home included a white coat of paint, giving the surrounding area the moniker “White House Ranch.”

In 1968, with the help of the El Pomar and Bemis Foundation, the City of Colorado Springs purchased the ranch and land surrounding the Garden of the Gods park as a natural preservation.

In 1995 the ranch name was changed back to ‘Rock Ledge Ranch,’ which was the name that the Chambers family had used to describe their land in the 1880’s. The Ranch underwent a restoration to preserve, protect, restore, and maintain the natural and historic integrity of the site. As a living history museum, the Ranch provides a safe, educational and experiential program that interprets the social, agricultural, and economic development of the Pikes Peak region. We are proud of the docents that contribute to the Living History Program.

Native Americans at the Indian area can provide insight on how they lived before the land was settled. Cabin docents demonstrate the arduous work and types of recreation with the time that lifestyle permitted. Rock Ledge House visitors are treated to the smells of a small Victorian country kitchen and Chamber House docents, dressed in period attire, explain the  most technologically advanced house of its time.

Wherever you go on the Ranch, the carefully preserved past becomes alive, merely waiting for you to begin its re-adventure.