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MacGregor Ranch

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1873, Alexander Q. MacGregor. 180 MacGregor Ave. (NRD)
  • MacGregor Ranch (Tom Noel)

This 3,600-acre ranch bordering Rocky Mountain National Park contains forty-one structures. The ranch house, milk shed, chicken house, barn, and “loafing shed” are original, while the smoke-house and root cellar are reconstructions. Alexander MacGregor, an attorney, and Clara Marie Heeney, who came to Estes Park on a sketching expedition, met in 1872 and married. With his wife's help, MacGregor frustrated the Earl of Dunraven's plans to make Estes Park his private hunting preserve by exposing phony homestead claimants who were holding the land. MacGregor set up a law practice and a ranch, while his wife became the town's first postmistress. The MacGregor House (1873) is built around a log cabin that is the oldest structure, while the MacGregor Ranch Museum (1896; remodeled 1920s) is the newest and largest of the family residences, with the MacGregor XIX brand incorporated in the slab siding. Inside, family memorabilia and many original fixtures and furnishings are now museum exhibits. MacGregor was killed by lightning in 1896, but his son Donald took over the ranch and operated it with his wife until 1950. The family raised hay, cattle, and oats and took in a few paying dudes. Their daughter, Muriel, kept the ranch going until her death in 1970, while her cattle and cats ran wild, generating many complaints. Muriel doted on her parents and grand-parents, for whom she built a rock mausoleum on the ranch. Now a living history museum, this is one of Colorado's best-preserved pioneer ranches.

Writing Credits

Thomas J. Noel


What's Nearby


Thomas J. Noel, "MacGregor Ranch", [Estes Park, Colorado], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Colorado, Thomas J. Noel. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997, 235-236.

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