When driving on I-25 north of Exit 191, have you noticed the dilapidated farmhouse in the dell to the east? It seems quite out of place situated among the booming areas of Castle Rock, Parker, and Lone Tree, and you may have thought it was destined to be bulldozed any day now.
Happily, that is not the case.
The two-story Victorian style home, brick grain silo, chicken coop and barn, have officially been granted landmark status by Douglas County’s historic preservation board. The owner of the nine-acre property is now Coventry Development Corp. Coventry’s plans to save the ranch rather than bulldoze it as part of the huge development in Ridge Gate, is highly unusual. Coventry officials estimate it will take more than $600,000 and up to ten years to repair the home and buildings.
Why make the effort?
The property was built more than 100 years ago by John Schweiger, a native of Austria who immigrated to the United States in 1866. He worked in smelters and mines in Georgia and Tennessee before moving to Denver in the 1870s. With his brothers, Schweiger purchased 800 acres in Douglas County in 1874, for $400.
At its peak around 1900, the Schweiger Ranch had more than 200 head of cattle and grew alfalfa, corn, oats, potatoes, rye and wheat. Five apple trees that Schweiger planted still produce today, although no one has lived at the site since a developer purchased the land in 1967.
A great grandson, also named John Schweiger, was at the dedication on September 16. He said that properties such as his great-grandfather’s remind people where they came from.
“You have all this growth, and it means so much to be able to preserve a place like this,” he said.