Cozens Ranch Museum
Visit Winter Park, Colorado
Cozens Ranch Museum: A visit to Grand County’s past
By: Tyler Macleod
It’s no secret that the Rendezvous community offers an abundance of outdoor activities, from hiking and mountain biking to fishing and wildlife viewing. On clear days, the views are breathtaking – offering 360-degree glimpses into Grand County’s stunning landscape. Rendezvous is nothing short of an outdoor enthusiast’s dream of a place to call home.
But, even with 300-plus days of sunshine in Colorado, there are still bound to be those rainy days, or at a minimum, afternoons. For anyone who has visited the Fraser Valley and witnessed firsthand the rarity of a rainy day, then they can attest that, unfortunately, there aren’t a whole lot of options when it comes to indoor activities. Sure, sitting on the couch and watching Netflix isn’t a terrible alternative when the weather goes south, but is that really what anyone wants to do with their time in the mountains?
So why not put that rainy day to good use by catching up on some Grand County history at the nearby Cozens Ranch Museum?
Of course, that’s not to say that the museum is only worthwhile on a dreary day. In fact, it’s a worthwhile experience any day of the year, whether you’re new to the Grand County community or if you’ve called it home for the majority of your life.
Located just off US Highway 40, along the Fraser River and directly next door to the Rendezvous Discovery Center, the Cozens Ranch Museum is stationed in the original Cozens Ranch homestead that dates back to 1876. Not only was it the first homestead of the Fraser Valley, but it also became the very first Fraser Valley Post Office and was the epicenter for the pioneer community in the late 1800s and early 1900s. At one point, the ranch amassed more than 700 acres in the Fraser Valley, but today is remembered through only the house, stage stop and post office, which still remain.
Although quaint and unassuming from the outside, the Cozens Ranch Museum still possesses the six bedrooms that housed many travelers, friends, and family for years throughout history. Even today, there are still no bathrooms connected to the small, windowless rooms; offering an authentic, rustic experience overflowing with the history and artifacts that shaped the Fraser Valley into what is in our present time.
Taking a stroll through the six bedrooms grants visitors with a glimpse back to the days of President Eisenhower’s Fraser fishing adventures and Doc Susie’s impact as the once solitary physician of the local community. Other bedrooms offer exhibits on the logging community of Grand County, the skiing and railroad history of Berthoud Pass, and even a replica hotel room complete with an authentic bed and, of course, bed pans (since, even in the absence of one, travelers did have to use the bathroom at times through the night).
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the only museum in the Winter Park-Fraser Valley region, the Cozens Ranch Museum is made possible through generous donations by the Rendezvous community and other local organizations. It is surely a must-do for both the diehard and casual history buffs, and offers an educational and captivating experience for visitors of all ages – no matter what time of year or what the weather report may hold.
The museum is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. year-round, and also open on Tuesdays throughout the summer. For more information and admission fees, be sure to visit www.grandcountyhistory.org.
An East Coast transplant, Tyler grew up just north of Baltimore, Md., where he studied Journalism and New Media at nearby Towson University. He moved to Grand County in the fall of 2011, and aside from a brief stint in Bozeman, Mont., has called the Fraser Valley home ever since. Currently, he is a freelance writer and photographer who spends the majority of his free time snowboarding, cycling, and hanging out at the local skatepark.