Explore Summit County Homesteads
The mapping project focused on the first generation – the homesteaders who started the land development in Summit County, Colorado.
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 3 featured homesteads with a story map, sharing family details, photos, and firsthand accounts of the ranching life. Future plans are to populate all the homesteads.
2022 Theme: Homesteads of Summit County
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.
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.
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.