History: Life on the ranch
“Among the Ranchers” headlined the Rocky Mountain Sun in 1885, which described early ranches in the area. “Brush Creek and vicinity offers particular advantages to the ranchers, as it is so near the Aspen Market. The largest ranch, and perhaps the most profitable, is that of Jote Smith, at the mouth of the creek. Mr. Smith purchased this ranch in 1883, of several parties, and has over 300 acres of fine land. He has this year 90 acres of oats, of heavy yield, part of which will go 60 bushels to the acre. He will have between 3,500 and 4,000 bushels of oats from this field. This crop is worth $6,000 at least. He has a fine garden and has set out a number of fruit trees, some of which are doing well. Alex Crukshank has a small, but valuable ranch above Mr. Smith’s, where he has raised a fine garden, and some oats. Crop worth $1,000….” The article continues with information on the Owl Creek ranches as well as those owned by the Stapletons, McPhersons and Manns in the early 1880s. This map of Pitkin County was published by The Aspen Times in 1884.
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