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As you wind along Highway 285, you see hills and valleys rising and receding around you. The beautifully forested landscape varies from densely packed pines to rolling pastures dotted with wild mule deer or elk. You think to yourself: "This is truly amazing."

Then, just as you pass from Pine into Bailey, Deer Creek Valley Ranch presents itself to you. Once you have seen it, you will never forget it! The white covered entryway announces the name: Deer Creek Valley Ranch. The Historic Barn personifies the Old West as it is nestled against a dramatic rock outcropping that is crowned with majestic pines. If you look closely you can even see an old water-cistern, hand-built into the rock, that once serviced the original residence on the property. With mountain peaks as the centerpiece of the backdrop, the picturesque valley that Deer Creek created seems to emanate straight from mountians themselves.

The First to Love this Land

This is the real deal, with a colorful history as a working Ranch. Originally homesteaded by George S. Parmalee (oldest son of John Parmalee, for whom Parmalee Gulch is named), he built the massive original barn in 1865. Crafted with hand-hewn timbers and wooden pegs, it stood over three stories tall on a stone foundation.

Creative Beginning

What is now a quaint renovated cottage next to the barn was once the stagecoach stop between Denver and Fairplay. Since it was a natural stopping place on the wagon road, George capitalized on this by applying for a post office there in 1870. The old stage road passed between the barn and the original ranch house. In 1927, that house burned and was replaced by one built just west of the barn. The original location lies in what is now the US Highway 285 right-of-way. According to Harold Warren's Bits and Pieces of History along the 285 Corridor, most of the original chimney is now buried in highway fill.

Horn Cemetary's First Resident

Warren's book also includes a colorful account of how the Horn Cemetery came to be situated in such close proximity to the Ranch. It seems that there was a shootout at the stage coach stop and one of the participants was mortally wounded. He managed to stagger only a short distance before he dropped and died and of course they buried him on the spot.

FIRE!!!

Faulty wiring is believed to have caused a fire that destroyed the 124-year-old Deer Creek Valley Ranch barn (Fairplay Flume, May 13, 1989). Platte Canyon firefighter John Woodward reported smoke in the afternoon, but the barn was fully involved before firefighters arrived. Dousing the fire required over 50,000 gallons of water over several days due to smoldering hay and manure inside. Fortunately, no livestock were inside. John Keel, who had purchased the Ranch four years prior, called the financial loss incidental, but the historical loss significant; and vowed to rebuild to restore the charm of the valley.

Restoration

It took a while, but in 1997, Keel discovered a barn in Parker that was to be destroyed to make way for the development of Highway E-470. Its roof and top floor were an almost perfect fit! In short order, the Parker barn's roof and upper story were sliced into two sections lengthwise, transported and placed in position by a crane on the restored lower portion of the historic barn. After adding new shingles and a fresh coat of paint the barn became what we see today, a testament to fortitude and persistence commemorating Colorado's territorial history.

I'll Take It!

Then, in 2004, the 165-acre Deer Creek Valley Ranch was purchased by Tim Marasciullo. Ever since he was a youth, Tim would drive past the Ranch and think to himself : "One of these days, I'm going to own that Ranch." And one day his dream came true. Noting that the Ranch had come up for sale, Tim contacted the realtor and was told that the Ranch had already sold and was due to close escrow in three days. As Tim and the realtor drove around looking at other properties, the realtor received a phone call: the Ranch had fallen unexpectedly out of escrow! Tim immediately said "I'll take it!" Practically sight-unseen, a purchase contract was submitted. Only then did Tim get to see the rest of the property, which included a furnished 4,000sf ranch-house built in the late 1940s, with an in-ground swimming pool and all recently renovated.
What a bonus! And what timing, there were three back-up offers by the end of the day. At the time, little did Tim know the love and family experiences that were yet to unfold here at the Ranch. And little do we know what fabulous memories are yet to be experienced by all who enjoy their celebrations here as well. The rest, as they say, is history.
 
Note: Information and some text gleaned from various articles in the Park County Republican and the Fairplay Flume.
DEER CREEK VALLEY RANCH
64407 US Highway 285 · Bailey, CO 80421
303-929-9133 | office · 303-265-9320 | fax
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