As Colorado was settled in the mid 1800s, what is now Perry Park Ranch became the site of an early stagecoach stop due to its convenient location on the Denver to Colorado Springs route. Soon after, the stagecoach gave way to progress with the construction of a rail line, and a series of traveler hotels were built near what is now Lake Wauconda.
In the 1870s, the area was settled as the 4000 acre, working ranch of John Perry, who brought the first rail line from Kansas City to Denver. The original ranch house, with some updating, is still in use as the home of a local ranching neighbor. As Denver grew in the late 1800s, the area became a popular destination. A new hotel, replacing the more spartan accommodations, became a stylish site for conventions and exclusive parties of the Denver elite with guests arriving by stage from the Greenland and Larkspur rail depots.
In 1891, the Red Stone Company engaged Frederick Law Olmstead, the designer of New York’s Central Park and the Boston Commons to plan a resort village, with a casino, chapel, library-museum, three lakes, plus three separate residential areas. Unfortunately, most of the plans never got off the drawing board though a few “cottages” were constructed for wealthy Denver businessmen. One of these cottages was the Manor House which today houses the restaurants, pro shop and other facilities of the Perry Park Country Club.
Though various attempts at ranching and development were made in succeeding years, it wasn’t until the late 1960s that sustained growth of the area was achieved. It included the establishment of the country club and over the following five decades, the community has grown to more than 750 families.
For a more complete telling of the fascinating history of Perry Park Ranch, take a moment to view the video In The Shadows Of Giants, produced by Douglas County Television. A wealth of information about the early days of Perry Park is archived at the Douglas County Historical Society and a listing can be found at DouglasCountyHistory.org.
Source: The Perry Park Story by Ardis Webb
John Perry Ranch photo (c. 1917) courtesy of Douglas County Historical Research Center, Douglas County Libraries