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Ken-Caryl Ranch Manor House

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1914. 14432 W. Ken-Caryl Rd.

The huge Ken-Caryl subdivision formed from this 28,000-acre ranch typifies the fate of many ranches in the Denver metropolitan area. Chicagoan John C. Schaeffer, owner of the Rocky Mountain News from 1913 to 1926, established this Hereford ranch, which he named for his sons, Ken and Caryl. During the 1970s the Johns Manville Corporation of New York City bought the Ken-Caryl Ranch for $7.5 million and moved its world headquarters to the grounds. Manville developed the ranch as a subdivision. The first homes opened in 1976 for a subdivision planned to accommodate an estimated 18,000 residents, an office park, and a shopping center.

The two-story manor house, for all its size and grand hilltop location, is a simple vernacular white clapboard home with some Georgian Revival detailing. The 8,000-square-foot house has a distinctive two-story south portico with a giant order of Doric columns and attic dormers. It is now a restaurant, with many private rooms in the little-altered original room configuration. The large sunroom is now a piano lounge. The Dutch Colonial style barn (1917) is the Equestrian Center for Ken-Caryl subdivisions.

Also on the ranch are the ruins of Robert Bradford's two-story stone house, stage stop, and inn (1859), once a separate 385-acre ranch now developed as Ken-Caryl's North Ranch. Bradford built the house as an inn along his toll road from Denver through this area and up Turkey Creek Canyon to the mines in South Park. A few other structures sprang up nearby to make up “Bradford City,” of which only the crumbling walls of Bradford's home survive amid expensive new suburban homes. Restrictive covenants overseen by the Architectural Control Committee require large lots and spacious homes of at least 2,200 square feet on the first floor, with exteriors “of natural materials with no pastel or bright colors permitted.”

This sheltered scenic mountain valley between a hogback and foothills has long attracted home seekers. A major prehistoric rock shelter was discovered on the ranch along with a fire pit, animal bones, scraping tools, and projectile points.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Thomas J. Noel
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Citation

Thomas J. Noel, "Ken-Caryl Ranch Manor House", [Littleton, Colorado], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/CO-01-JF33.

Print Source

Buildings of Colorado, Thomas J. Noel. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997, 159-160.

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