Homesteaded in 1914, Wild Canyon Ranch was an ideal choice of land for settlers, due to the property's numerous springs and the potential to develop abundant pastures. Initially, the ranch consisted of a main ranch house, a log barn, a small cabin down the road, a blacksmith shop, and a cold cellar situated on a spring for keeping food cool all year round. By providing water to all the buildings, the springs also contributed to a self-sustaining farm. The livestock consisted of beef and dairy cows, pigs and chickens.
Sometime during the 1920s, Miss Kate Moomey from Longmont, Colorado, purchased the ranch. She was a spinster and a long-time companion to Miss Lyda Empson, whose family owned the Empson Packing Company, which in 1920 had become the Kuner-Empson Canning Company. The two never married and traveled the world together. Believing that the ranch had healing properties, they were driven there in the summers by their chauffer for extended stays in their cabin. They also had a two-room log cabin built near the Main Ranch House for the chauffeur.
In 1954, Truman Hightower and his wife Tiny Wee Hightower purchased the ranch for ten thousand dollars. Tiny Wee was the thirteenth child in her family and was told her parents had run out of names. Embarrassed by the unusual name, she always called herself Tina. During her family's ownership of the ranch, Tina showcased her affinity and love for stone work. Her masonry talent can be seen in the Main Ranch House, where she handcrafted a magnificent stone fireplace. In addition, she built a garage next to the Main Ranch House, another example of her masterful craftsmanship. Although the Hightowers owned the ranch, Miss Kate Moomey retained ownership of her cabin. Upon her death Miss Kate's Cabin officially became part of the ranch, as it is today. Truman and Tina had one daughter, Vicki, who later married Dick Winternitz.
In 2002, A young couple, along with their three young children, fulfilled a ten-year quest to some mountain land for an escape from city life. While looking for a property on a summer day, the family turned on County Road 77, heading towards Tarryall Reservoir. Noticing a dirt road with a nondescript green street sign that read "Truman" and presuming it to be a county road, they turned off and drove up a long, meandering, picturesque lane. To their surprise the winding road ended. Suddenly, facing them was what appeared to be someone's personal home. They stared in amazement at the pristine privacy of the property. The landscape offered breathtaking panoramic views of lush green pastures and a pond, surrounded by a dense forest of pine and aspen.
Before turning around, the family mustered up some courage to approach the house with the idea that maybe, just maybe, the current owners might want to sell. Vicki was not at home since she just happened to be at a realtor's office, intending to sell twenty acres for funds to keep the ranch operating. Dick Winternitz encouraged them to come back when Vicki was at home. After several months of negotiations, the owners sold the property to the young couple with the agreement that Vicki and her husband could continue to live in Tina's Ranch House for the next five years. The very first project was renovating and modernizing Miss Kate's Cabin, abandoned for ten years, and ridding it of mice and packrats.
In 2010 the historic log barn, which already was structurally tenuous, collapsed after a bear got stuck in the barn, escaped through glass windows, and damaged a supporting wall in the process. The old barn had to be torn down, but luckily a new barn could be constructed using the historic lumber and rusted tin from the old barn. A larger hay loft was needed and was created using the original hand-hewn timbers. Additional hand-hewn timbers were made to match the 100-year old timbers. Supporting Aspen logs seen in and outside the barn were collected from the surrounding property. Wood that was needed was personally milled on the property using trees from the ranch and Lodge Pole Pine. All the wood seen inside and outside the barn was personally stained and created by friends and family of the property for a personal and unique touch.
We are proud to share our ranch as we want others to feel the peace and serenity of the property and hopefully create everlasting memories for whomever chooses to become part of the ranch for a day.