From Old West Homestead to New West Enclave
● By Alesha Damerville
By Alesha Damerville
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – The deep-rooted history of the Old West still carries on strong in the place where the town of Sidney once stood, where Routt County Road 14 meets RCR 35.
Settlers created a homestead upon discovering the plentiful farm grounds and surrounding meadows in the early 1800s. However, it wasn’t until 1888 that the federal government opened a post office in Sidney – back when Steamboat Springs was a two-hour horse ride away.
By 1907, the amenities offered throughout the town had grown: a blacksmith shop, a creamery, a church and a boarding house all offered sanctuary to weary travelers and new settlers in the community. Saturday night dances at the general store were popular events.
The arrival of the railroad in 1908 further opened the opportunity for growth in the small rural town. Sidney became a shipping point for cattle, hay, potatoes and corn.
Sidney’s school district was formed in 1911, and the schoolhouse was housed in a cabin which formerly served as a saloon. However, the development of Highway 40 over Rabbit Ears Pass and the innovation of the automobile seemed too much competition for this humble town lying just eight miles outside of Steamboat Springs.
By 1941, the post office was shut down, followed quickly by the schoolhouse in 1954, and the town of Sidney soon became a thing of the past.
Sidney Peak Ranch is located just south of where the town of Sidney once stood.
History, peace and tranquility flourish in the 1500 acres of countryside that house Sidney Peak Ranch. This seemingly untouched area, lying remarkably close to Steamboat Resort and Corporation, allows the privacy of ranch living with close proximity to all the amenities Steamboat Springs has to offer.
Herb Lemay found the property and suggested his associate, John Boler, purchase the land, which he did in the ‘90s. Lemay became the first property manager, and originally attempted to develop the land as a fox hunting enclave but failed – this is, after all, cowboy country.
This historic working ranch consists of 1500 acres, 1200 of which are in a conservation easement. Each lot has a development area of 8 to 10 acres, but in the deed, landowners receive an additional 30 or 40 acres extending into the common ranch land.
“It’s a really cool concept of keeping most of it as open space and the lots grouped up on the ridge,” says Sidney Peak Ranch’s current president of the development company, Rod Hanna.
Hanna uses the word “grouped” loosely; the lots are extremely private and spaced so as to not interrupt the views of one another. Stretches of aspen groves, lupines in bloom, sage and scrub oak intermingle on these diverse pieces of land. Expansive views surround, no matter the line of sight.
The ranch houses two agricultural operations: pastures for cattle grazing and irrigated hay meadows. These enterprises help contribute to the upkeep of the ranch and assist in keeping the homeowners’ association fees low.
Several miles of recreational trails snake through the property. A bunk house, one of the first homes developed on the ranch, now serves as a guesthouse for owners’ use. A 32-stall equestrian center with a large indoor riding arena was constructed on site for horseback riding, training and storage.
Sidney Peak Ranch is special for a number of reasons. It’s undiscovered by many and its exclusivity makes it an ideal place to find sanctuary. Out of the 32 ranch sites, nine are still available. Secure country living in a ranch community, without the work, has made these acreages a sought-after place to develop for those who want the best of both worlds.
For more information on Sidney Peak Ranch, visit www.sidneypeakranch.com