Today the National Park Service approved the listing of the McFadden Brothers Ranch East Headquarters north of Buena Vista, in the National Register. The ranch is associated Agriculture in northern Chaffee County, Colorado. Located at an elevation of nearly 8,500’ in the upper Arkansas River Valley, the property’s fields were part of an 1876 homestead settled by George and Julia Morrison. From 1876 to 1897 the Morrisons raised hay and livestock and cultivated field crops, irrigating the land with water from Morrison Creek. The Morrison property was among the earliest agricultural operations in the northern part of the county and, by 1891, one of the largest in terms of acreage, making it a significant influencer of agricultural practices in the area. In 1919 the property became part of William J. and Frank McFadden’s farm and ranch operation. The brothers grew up on a ranch on higher land less than a mile to the west that their father, William P. McFadden, homesteaded in 1881. In purchasing the second ranch, the McFadden Brothers doubled the size of their property, providing important additional water rights for irrigation and level fields for raising hay, thus permitting the brothers to expand their operations. The expansion of the ranch and construction of the east headquarters is representative of local ranch evolution to meet the needs and ambitions of a second generation of owners. It also reflects the continuing importance of agriculture to the county economy in the early twentieth century.
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