Hartsel (1875, 8,860 feet) was founded by Sam Hartsel, who introduced shorthorn cattle to Colorado at his ranch here. The Hartsel stage stop evolved into a station for the Colorado Midland Railroad, a standard-gauge line from Colorado Springs whose rail bed and passenger and freight depots survive on the south side of Main Street (U.S. 24). The South Park Mercantile (1906) is a Mission Revival, one-story store with curvilinear front and side parapets and red tile roof. The Swift Meat Packing Company of Chicago built the store after acquiring the old Hartsel Ranch and operated it until 1916, when the federal government began breaking up Swift's meat-packing monopoly. Today this old-time general store with a soda fountain, as well as an old schoolhouse, an antique saloon, and other pioneer buildings linger in a town where cattle are still driven down the main street.
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