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Sulphur Springs History

Long ago a glacier cut through what is now the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range and the San Isabelle National Forest. It carved through the rock walls leaving valleys, and unusual rock formations. Today from the heart of the mountains, Indian Creek flows through the Sulphur Springs Ranch and down to LaVeta. Fresh water, mineral, iron, and sulphur springs still bubble up year round on the Ranch.

Up through the late 1800s this sacred valley was part of the area the Ute people called home. Medicine men and women, warriors, healers and children honored the land's purpose by care taking the springs, rock walls, vortexes and sweat lodges. Native visitors came regularly to cleanse their bodies and purify their hearts on their journey to the nearby Spanish peaks to negotiate and claim peace for themselves and with other tribes.

Today, it continues to be a place for those seeking to release the stresses of the fast paced life. Whether you choose to claim your peace, or enjoy the many activities, you will be warmly welcomed.

Come out and let us show and tell you some more about the history of Sulphur Springs Ranch during a Rock Wall Climbing experience. As old as the land, as old is the history of Sulphur Springs Ranch. Because of its sulphur springs, this place has been holy and sacred already 100 years ago.

From the very beginning, as the white man took this land, it became a place for hiking, camping and bathing in the springs. Just how old the buildings on the proper ty are, when and who built them, is debatable. A. L. Francisco was the first owner in 1870, receiving a land grant from President Cleveland. As Francisco built his residence in 1886, the resort had already become a place where dances were held. Hundreds of people came to Sulphur Springs to dance until dawn, camp, hike, bathe and drink the healing waters from the various springs. After Francisco died in 1899, his son started to build a full bathhouse and small cottages.
Over the 100 year history, Sulphur Springs remained very popular, especially for the dances and the baths in the Sulphur and iron springs. In 1924, a pavilion (our Dance Hall) was build and a total of 5 cottages readied for guests. In later years, Lawrence Welk and his small band would play at the Dance Hall for the locals. Also during these times, the climb to the Mountain Lion Den high on the Rock Wall be-hind the cabins, became a tradition.

In the 50's, when Marvin Shilling, a national champion square dance caller, owned the ranch, it became a real hot spot for people to kick their heels and swing their partner. Then, in more recent years, the ranch was turned into a kids' camp, and even a low-impact challenge course was built.

Frank and Linda bought Sulphur Springs in 1998. They have remained true to many of the traditions, especially that of the American Natives. Along with the staff, they have been caretakers of the land, maintaining the natural character of the area, while making improvements for guests and horses alike. This understanding of the purpose of the land, is a very special bond.