Castle Pines and Daniels Park (also known as Daniels Gate) have long been the emerging hot spot in Colorado for outdoor enthusiasts wanting a more convenient commute to Denver. Some consider Daniels Park to be located in Sedalia and some in Castle Pines, I've chosen to attach it to Castle Pines only for close proximity purposes. Bordering the north area of the Village at Castle Pines and including the estates at Daniel's Park, Castle Pines is nestled in the hilly layers proceeding the Front Range with fabulous views, winding tree-lined streets, abundant wildlife and homes, apartments, condos, townhomes and maintenance free options along with commercial and land opportunities to meet every need. Easy access to I-25 and Highlands Ranch by Quebec St., offers its residents resort mountain living with a smooth transition to both the city and the mountains. While Castle Pines' spectacular, unspoiled landscape is one of its highlights, this community also features suburban-style neighborhoods with pristine landscaping, open space trails and golf courses galore. Castle Pines residents enjoy access to 12,324 (yes, in the thousands) of acres of open space both to the north and west of the community. This exquisite acreage is owned and managed by three organizations: Highlands Ranch Backcountry Wilderness, Daniels Park, and Cherokee Castle & Ranch. An area rich in Colorado history and access to residents is granted through cultural sites, public trails and tours. The allure of this community is its unique character, stunning beauty and rich historical and colorful past of its true "Old West" heritage and the choice to preserve it.
Call Carla today to find your beautiful Castle Pines or Daniels Park home today.
LOCATION AND LANDS: The City of Castle Pines covers approximately 6,114 acres or 9.55 square miles. At an elevation of 6,368 feet (1,941 m), is 20 miles (32 km) south of downtown Denver and 43 miles (69 km) north of Colorado Springs. The 2008 incorporation of Castle Pines included 2,437 acres which extended west and north to Daniels Park and Highlands Ranch open space, south to the unincorporated area of Castle Pines Village and originally east to Interstate 25. The 2009 annexation of the Canyons property added 3,342 acres, extending the City’s municipal boundaries east of I-25.
The City’s municipal boundaries east of I-25 extend north to the Rueter-Hess Reservoir, east to Castle Park Ranches and south to Crowfoot Valley Road, Sapphire Pointe and Happy Canyon Estates.
Incorporated on February 12, 2008, it was the first new city in Douglas County since 1995, and in Colorado since 2004, the city's stated vision is to, "Enhance our community's unique character by ensuring excellent infrastructure, safe neighborhoods, maximum citizen participation and conscientious development that balances open space, residential and commercial uses."
The city lies in the Colorado Piedmont on the western edge of the Great Plains. Happy Canyon Creek runs north-northeast through the western part of the city, and Newlin Gulch and its tributary, South Newlin Gulch, run north-northeast and north, respectively, through the eastern part of the city. All three streams are part of the Cherry Creek watershed.
Castle Pines is home to 5 parks and 14 miles of trails that are 8-feet wide and paved to accommodate a variety of recreational activities. Walking, running and bicycling is permitted on trails, however horseback riding and the use of motorized vehicles is prohibited. The Castle Pines North Metropolitan District maintains most trails in Castle Pines.
Castle Pines parks and natural areas include: Elk Ridge Park Retreat Park Coyote Ridge Park Daniel's Gate Park Daniels Park
HISTORY OF CASTLE PINES / DANIELS PARK: Nearly 1,000 acres of land, steeped in Colorado history, sits right in the backyard of Castle Pines. The park holds landmarks in ranching, pioneer, and Native American traditions. In July of 1995, Daniels Park was listed as a Historic Place with the National Register.
Florence F. Martin, a socially prominent member in Denver society, donated to the City of Denver the ranch land which is known today as Daniels Park. The donation was made in two separate parcels. The first 37.99 acres were given in 1920, and the second 962.76 acres were given in 1937. Today there are still traces of Martin’s house and flower gardens. Ranch buildings remain on the land and demonstrate the architecture of a working 1920's ranch.
Before 1864, Daniels Park Road was known as the First Colorado Territorial Road that took travelers south of Denver through Colorado Springs, into Pueblo and to points further south. A rendezvous point for outlaws called Riley Hill is where Daniels Park Road runs along the ridge today. Robbers would lie in wait for passing stage coaches and pounce on unsuspecting victims.
Daniels Park is also where noted trapper, scout, and army officer Christopher "Kit" Carson made his last campfire in 1868. In poor health and traveling to his home in Taos, New Mexico, Carson stopped for lunch in Daniels Park, but died before reaching his home. A memorial stone was placed on the site in 1923 by the Territorial Daughters of Colorado.
In the 1970s, a Cheyenne Indian named Richard Tall Bull, asked for a place where Denver’s Native American community could come together for ceremonies and celebrations. The Tallbull Memorial Grounds are also located on 80 acres of Daniels Park and add to the rich heritage of the area. The grounds were dedicated in 1975 as an exclusive ceremonial site with 17 Indian organizations known as the Tall Bull Memorial Council. In 1997, that agreement was extended for another 25 years. The land is set apart from the rest of Daniels Park by fences and a gate. It is only open to the public during Native American powwows.
Today, Daniels Park is part of Denver’s Mountain Park System, a series of foothill and mountain parks interconnected by scenic mountain drives, and an important part of Castle Pines. Daniels Park (8682 N Daniels Park Rd, Sedalia, CO 80135) is a unit of the Denver Mountain Parks system located in an area of grassy buttes and ravines. Best known for its bison herd, the park is also home to historic ranch structures, a picnic shelter designed by Jules Jacques Benois Benedict, the site where Kit Carson supposedly made his last campfire, and the Tall Bull Memorial Grounds cultural area.
The land that is now Daniels Park is bisected by a ridge known as Riley Hill, which runs roughly north-south to reach Wildcat Point at an elevation of 6,600 feet. When Daniels & Fisher, department store owner William Cooke Daniels and his wife, Cicely Banner Daniels, both died suddenly in 1918, they left ownership of the store to their friends Charles MacAllister Willcox, the store’s longtime president, and Florence Martin, an Australian socialite who was a close friend of Cicely Daniels. In 1919 Martin came to Denver and acquired a large ranch south of town—including Riley Hill and Wildcat Point—where she and her sister, Emily, could spend their summers.
In 1920, when Martin donated the acreage to the Denver Mountain Parks system, she stipulated that the new park should be named in honor of William and Cicely Daniels. In 1923, the Territorial Daughters added a memorial marking Kit Carson’s last campfire. Because of its great views of the Front Range stretching from Pikes Peak to Longs Peak, the small park became a popular spot for Denver residents to enjoy picnics and watch the sunset.
Meanwhile, in the early 1920s, Martin built her own house which was destroyed by fire in 1937. Instead of rebuilding, she donated 962 acres to Denver to expand Daniels Park to roughly 1,000 acres. The former ranch buildings became home to park maintenance workers and equipment. A year later, the enlarged park became home to Denver’s second bison herd after the existing herd at Genesee Park grew so large that it had to be split. About twenty bison were relocated to Daniels Park, where about 800 acres of parkland were set aside for them to roam. The park’s views west to the mountains, however, remain unimpeded.
Daniels Park was once in the middle of open plains, buttes, and ravines, but since the 1980s it has been abutted to the east by development in nearby Castle Pines. In 1995 the park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today it forms part of a 12,000-acre open space that is bounded by Castle Pines on the east, Highlands Ranch on the north, and US 85 on the west and south. In addition to Daniels Park, the open space includes Highlands Ranch Backcountry Wilderness and Cherokee Ranch.
Cherokee Ranch: Cherokee Ranch & Castle includes land that originally belonged to two separate homesteads in the late 1890s: the Flower Homestead and the Blunt Homestead.
The Homestead of John Blunt in 1868, following his service in the Civil War, homesteaded land on East Plum Creek near the town of Sedalia. Their first home site was abandoned and they built a new house in 1873 named Sunflower Ranch. Three generations of their family ran cattle and farming operations at Sunflower Ranch for over 81 years. They gradually purchased adjacent homesteads and expanded to 1,550 acres. In its place and time, their 1,370 square-foot house was proudly elegant, a most unusual house in the rural landscape. The house seems to have no stylistic precedent in pattern books of the mid and late nineteenth century, and the design is attributed to the inventive common sense of John Blunt. The 1873 Blunt house still stands today at the center of the outbuildings at Cherokee Ranch Headquarters. An apple tree, brought from Kansas by John Blunt in 1868, stands east of the house. It is believed that branches trimmed from this apple tree were used as the porch columns for the Flower Homestead. The Blunt house is recognized as one of the oldest structures in Douglas County. Tweet Kimball purchased the Blunt holdings from Ray Blunt in 1954.
In 1891, Charles Alfred Johnson (Carl) moved to Denver from Boston and began a real estate business becoming well known for the development of Denver’s historic Park Hill neighborhood. Carl and his wife, Alice Gifford Phillips, settled south of Denver. Carl purchased the Flower Homestead property for $5 an acre in 1924. Soon after the purchase, Carl hired architect Burnham Hoyt to begin construction of his residence that turned from a summer home to his year-round residence. Charlford Castle, built from 1924 -1926, was named after Alice’s son Gifford and Alice and Carl’s son Charlie. Hoyt designed the residence with architectural details from English and Scottish castles and other country homes of the 1450's. When Carl’s health began to fail in 1949, he and Alice temporarily moved to California. After Alice’s death in 1950, Carl returned to Denver each summer and stayed at the Brown Palace Hotel. His visits were always front-page news. Carl died in 1954. After growing up at Charlford, Carl’s son, Charles Johnson, Jr. (Charlie), lived at Charlford with his wife Katherine Sweet Johnson, and their two children. In 1954, Charlie sold the property to Twee Kimball.
Tweet purchased both homesteads renamed both pieces of land Cherokee Ranch, which today includes 3,400 acres of natural beauty and wildlife. In 1996, Tweet worked with Douglas County and a citizen’s group, The Douglas County Open Lands Coalition, to protect Cherokee Ranch through a Conservation Easement. The Foundation holds the deed to Cherokee Ranch. In 2010, The Cherokee Ranch & Castle Foundation purchased 300 acres adjacent to the Ranch. By the late 1990s, as nearby development resulted in more traffic in and around Daniels Park, Denver (which owns the park) and Douglas County (which maintains Daniels Park Road) started working together to implement a variety of park and road improvements. In 2006 Daniels Park received a State Historical Fund grant of more than $80,000 to restore the exterior of the historic Martin Ranch barn. In 2007 a master plan for the park was completed, and in 2008–9 Douglas County performed the first phase of improvements to Daniels Park Road. A new trail and trailhead opened in 2014, and construction of more trails, parking lots, and buffalo-viewing areas continued in 2015. The final round of improvements in the more than $3.5 million project—including paving and rerouting Daniels Park Road and building a trail parallel to the road—is slated for completion in 2017–18.
Excerpts and information re-printed from contributions by Linda Nuzum, to the December 2006 issue of The Connection and CherokeeRanch.org.
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