Ralston Ranch


Address: Rockland Road, then U.S. Hwy 40, taken out by Interstate 70, approximately 1/4 mile east of exit 254;Unincorporated JeffCo, Golden Postal Zip Code 80401

Captain Lucian Ralston (1830-1894) first scouted Colorado for the federal government in 1855. He was especially moved by Mt. Vernon Canyon (which had no name until Mt. Vernon was founded in 1859). He moved his family to Golden from Kentucky in 1879 and settled in a log cabin near Cody Park in 1880. He helped build the first Rockland Church and homesteaded a ranch. After he died of Civil War wounds in 1894, his son Lucian McKee continued to manage the Ralston homestead. In 1900, he married Bessie Lindsay, daughter of Dr. Sam Lindsay, the pioneer settler of the Pine Grove community in South JeffCo. Lucian and Bessie developed a variety of enterprises to sustain their seven children. In 1903, they opened a general store next to their ranch house and outbuildings which were next to the one-room Rockland School. Ralston served the board of education for 35 years and was the first Chaplain for the Genesee Grange #219 in 1913. He was also a Jefferson County Deputy Sheriff for many years. He added a large room behind the store for community meetings and celebrations. Ralston donated 56 acres of his Genesee Mountain land to Denver Mountain Parks in 1919 and helped the Denver Ski Club build the Ski Jump adjacent to his Genesee land in 1920. He worked for Denver Mountain Parks for 14 years, building roads and establishing picnic areas. In 1938, U.S. Highway 40 was built high above the old Rockland Road, and Ralston built a second store (still standing vacant between Lookout Mountain Road and I-70 Exit 254). When the federal government planned to build Interstate 70 directly through the Ralston Ranch, the family traded some of their land with developers of Genesee for land south of Spring Ranch in the Cold Springs (crosses Kerr Gulch). "Grandad" Ralston was the center of stability for the community until he died in 1957, after the new Ralston Elementary School was named for him. Lucian M. Ralston was inducted into the Jefferson County historic Hall of Fame in 1997. No traces of the original homestead remain but son Norman has preserved some of the original ranching tools.
Quad Map/Date: Morrison, 1994
Sec/Town/Range: S11, T4S, R71W
Elevation: 7600
Source: Lucian Ralston family, "The Shining Mountains" by Georgina Brown; City and Mountain Views (March and April 1995), Mt. Vernon Canyon Past to Present by Carole Lomond.
Other Names: Ralston Elementary School, Genesee Ski Jump
Last Modified: Mon, December 10 2012
 


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