Daniels Park – A wealth of history in our backyard
The red barn and silo, which are visible from Daniels Park Road,
were originally used for hay and dairy cattle.
Information re-printed from contributions by Linda Nuzum to the December 2006 issue of The Connection; photo by Tim Gamble
Castle Pines [North] residents are fortunate to have access to thousands of acres of open space stretching to the north and west of the community. In fact, 12,324 acres of open space is owned and managed by three separate organizations including: Highlands Ranch Backcountry Wilderness, Daniels Park, and Cherokee Castle & Ranch. All are rich in Colorado history and portions are accessible to residents through cultural sites, public trails and tours.
Nearly 1,000 acres of land, steeped in Colorado history, sits right in the backyard of Castle Pines [North]. The park holds landmarks in ranching, pioneer, and Native American traditions. In July of 1995, Daniels Park was listed as a Historic Place with the National Register.
Florence F. Martin, a socially prominent member in Denver society, donated to the City of Denver the ranch land which is known today as Daniels Park. The donation was made in two separate parcels. The first 37.99 acres were given in 1920, and the second 962.76 acres were given in 1937. Today there are still traces of Martin’s house and flower gardens. Ranch buildings remain on the land and demonstrate the architecture of a working 1920s ranch.
Before 1864, Daniels Park Road was known as the First Colorado Territorial Road that took travelers south of Denver through Colorado Springs, into Pueblo and to points further south. A rendezvous point for outlaws called Riley Hill is where Daniels Park Road runs along the ridge today. Robbers would lie in wait for passing stage coaches and pounce on unsuspecting victims.
Daniels Park is also where Kit Carson made his last campfire in 1868. In poor health and traveling to his home in Taos, New Mexico, Carson stopped for lunch in Daniels Park, but died before reaching his home. A memorial stone was placed on the site in 1923 by the Territorial Daughters of Colorado.
The Tallbull Memorial Grounds are also located on 80 acres of Daniels Park and add to the rich heritage of the area. The grounds were dedicated in 1975 as an exclusive ceremonial site with 17 Indian organizations. In 1997, that agreement was extended for another 25 years. The land is set apart from the rest of Daniels Park by fences and a gate. It is only open to the public during Native American powwows.
Today, Daniels Park is part of Denver’s Mountain Park System, a series of foothill and mountain parks interconnected by scenic mountain drives, and an important part of Castle Pines.