the Colaborative Inc

Van Vleet Ranch

Client: City of Boulder - Open Space Department

Site: Boulder County, Colorado

The City of Boulder Open Space Program came into possession of the Van Vleet Ranch as part of a land purchase to provide open space between county communities. The ranch was home to one of Boulder County’s original pioneering families, and was purchased in 1942 by the Van Vleets. An early prominent family, the Van Vleet’s raised Arabian horses and cattle. When structural problems were discovered in the ranch house, the City Open Space Department vacated the building until they could determine what course of action to pursue. In order to make this determination, the historical and architectural significance of the house were evaluated by the Collaborative. If the building was found to be significant, structural repairs might be undertaken. If not, the building might be demolished. The evaluation determined that the house by itself had little architectural value, but that it did have a great deal of local historical value. A case for eligibility on the National Register of Historic Places was difficult to make, and rested on the significance of the entire ranch as an intact rural complex. This required further research and documentation. Finding a use for significant historic buildings is frequently very difficult and usually requires extensive alteration. In this case, the Van Vleet Ranch has been in use as a ranch, and the ranch house occupied by the ranch manager until the structural deterioration was discovered. With structural repair to the house, use as a ranch has been continued.