Explore Summit County Homesteads

Mapping Project

The mapping project focuses on the first generation – the homesteaders who started the land development in Summit County, Colorado, particularly the Lower Blue Valley.

The homesteads are placed on the current Summit County map so you can relate today to the past. What homesteads are under the water of the Dillon Reservoir or part of a resort community enjoying the views of Buffalo Mountain or part of a hiking trail.

When you click on a homestead, you will see the name, date, and size of the original homestead. We have 4 featured homesteads with a story map, sharing family details, photos, and firsthand accounts of the ranching life. Future plans are to tell more of the stories./p>

What is a Homestead?

They came for the gold, but stayed for the land

We select a theme each year to focus our research, information, and programs on the people, places, and events of our past.

We are exploring land and people changes from the first generation homesteaders who changed the demographics from miners to families.

SHS P.2014.7 8 Homestead Summit County

What is a homestead?

The Homestead Act of 1862 was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on May 20, 1862. The act defined how federal land could be distributed. Federal land was divided into 160 acres (approximately), and land offices were established for individuals. Men and women who were heads of household, over the age of 21 could apply for a petition. They had to develop the land, build a house, and live on the land for 5 years. When requirements were met, or “proved up”, they received a patent which granted them official ownership.

Cow Barn Rice Ranch copy 2
Ranch From Hill
SHS P.2014.7 14
Stacking Rice ranch
Rice ranch upper meadow 19 copy

The untold stories of Summit County

See the Stories

Our early families of Summit County are represented in these homesteads and their stories are told in acres, gardens, cattle, and hay. Their children attended the one room schoolhouses, fished in the streams, and became the next generation to contribute to our rich history.

Thank You Summit Foundation

Thank you to The Summit Foundation for their generous support of the Homestead Mapping Project Phase-1.

summit foundation give like a local


If you would like to support our project, donate here.