History and Purpose

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The Hutchinson Ranch was established in 1868 when pioneers Joseph Sykes Hutchinson and Annabel McPherson settled and started raising cattle.  Joseph was a Union Army Captain who also served as a representative in the Colorado Territorial Legislature, and Annabel was a strong matriarch who raised four sons and continued to run the ranch after Joseph’s early demise at the age of 42. Six generations later, the Hutchinsons are still raising cattle on the same land surrounding the Homestead.

To preserve this history, The Hutchinson Homestead and Learning Center represents a vision initiated by Dr. Wendell F. Hutchinson (4th generation):

“To preserve some things from the past so that future generations will know
how people lived and worked in those bygone days.”

In meeting this vision, Dr. Hutchinson donated the Homestead to the Town of Poncha Springs in 2006.  Upon its designation as one of Colorado’s Most Endangered Places in 2003, the Hutchinson Homestead started undergoing the preservation of its century-old buildings.  After 12 years of meticulous rehabilitation, the property opened to the public in 2013.  Salida Area Parks, Open Space and Trails, the Hutchinson Family and the Town of Poncha Springs have worked together to preserve the historic homestead, outbuildings and corrals. With funding support from History Colorado State Historical Fund and the National Park Service Save America’s Treasures Grant Program, the 140-year old buildings have been preserved and transformed into a place where the public can learn about pioneering history and the evolution of high altitude ranching.

To read more about the history of the Hutchinson Homestead and family members, visit the following Colorado Central Magazine article, written by Betty Plotz, local historian and former caretaker for Dr. Wendell “Hutch” Hutchinson.