Lower Lake Ranch is located on two original homesteads settled by Anton Glasmann and Samuel Cunningham in 1863. The Cunningham Homestead home is the ranches oldest surviving structure dating back to the 1860’s. By 1878, Anton Glasmann had established what would become Colorado’s oldest Guest Ranch originally named Lionshead Guest Ranch. It was situated under Lionshead and divided by Elk Creek. Anton had hired a young couple Jon and Elizabeth Jensen from Norway that had originally settled in America with all of their family in Chicago in the mid to late 1800’s. After Cunningham abandoned his homestead, a homestead that was next door to Anton’s ranch, Jon Jensen & his wife saw an opportunity to settle the Cunningham homestead and incorporate it into Anton’s business. They only had to maintain and operate their new ranch land for 5 years. Under the Homestead Act of 1863, homesteaders were required to settle, develop, and cultivate their land for 5 years, however for some pioneers that type of life was too harsh so homesteads were abandoned leaving the next homesteader the opportunity to develop the land. These pioneers began the American Dream to own part of America. Jon Jensen and his wife took advantage of the Homestead Act, when they claimed the Cunningham abandoned lands and began their dream with the Jensen Ranch. Jon charged $15 per car load of guest in the early years, then he changed his operation to daily and weekly Guest Fees, with his wife as the cook and he was the ranch manager. By 1900, a new opportunity occurred, when Anton passed away. Jon and Elizabeth Jensen purchased Anton’s Lionshead guest ranch from Anton’s heirs. With Lionshead Guest ranch incorporated into the Jensen Guest Ranch, Jon now owned and operated the Oldest Guest Ranch in Colorado and Park County. That young Norwegian couple that landed at Ellis Island in New York from Norway, then traveled with their parents and siblings to Chicago, and then they bravely moved and settled in Colorado, they achieved the American Dream, they created the Jensen Guest Ranch comprised of 3500+ acres in less than 30 years. Through the Years, The Jensen ranch has had many names. After Jon’s death in 1921, his 20 year old single daughter Alice Jensen operated the ranch and continued to host the guest ranch operation. Early newspaper articles wrote “No man can out ride Alice Jensen, she rides her horse like she is part of her horse”. Alice was destine to meet a man with similar love of land and horses. During a group event held at the ranch by the Denver Athletic Club known as the DAC Vacation getaway she meet Elmer Berg. They were married a year later in 1924. With Elmers business savvy he developed the Guest Ranch operation to a whole new level, hosting some of Colorado’s oldest Companies annual Picnics, Building the First Indoor Banquet Hall, Restaurant, building more guest cabins, and helping form organizations; like the The Round-up Riders, an exclusive horseback riding club where in 1948-49, held their First Rodeo and Banquet ceremony, at the New Ranch Banquet hall, it was named the Ending Ride Banquet. Elmer Berg with 4 other business men began their riding club because they recognized Colorado landscape changing with the development of Roads and fences that would soon change where horseback riding across Colorado was possible. In 1946 these 5 Coloradans fly over the State in a private plane and had an idea they should create “The Roundup Riders”, to see the State before it was too late.
Elmer and Alice described their ranch as the Upper and Lower Ranches along Elk Creek. Today, their Upper Ranch is part of The Staunton State Park, and the original Lower Ranch homestead is known as Lower Lake Ranch.
The Elk Creek Valley from Hwy 285 west to Mount Evans was originally comprised of large cattle and haying ranches. The 8000’ altitude allowed for great summer cool climate and moist valley land to produce mountain hay a high nutrient product for cattle and livestock.
Hormone free, grass feed beef sales is still available at the ranch. Sold by the pound and cut.
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