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Look onto the valley | by Rocky Pix
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Look onto the valley

When in the back of the Morse Coffin home, I looked over the old ice and storage houses and turned to see the Sandstone home and river valley beyond. This is as fine a place for a homestead as any in the West, sheltered in the back by the cliffs. Here is a view of the valley below the house. I could spend retirement years here as well as anywhere! A sublime spot and view where a homesteader could have watched wagons plodding west up the river valley. The only drawback is the wood clad sun room that functions just as that with the two story south-facing glass. And the reason for air conditioning in a house with foot-and-a-half thick sandstone walls. Pioneers may have been smarter than remodlers. Masonry buffering the heat inside and not collecting it on the outside.


I drove across town to Sandstone Ranch, pioneered by Morse Coffin, a father of early Longmont. This old farm and barn are near the banks of the St.Vrain River, in the distance, and on the edge of the plains draining from Rocky Mountain National Park. The house may be safe from a fire but I have seen floods in the past and wonder about this spot. An irrigation ditch flows over by the the original home on a higher location than the barn below. Some farm implements found a permanent home over north of the barn, on the path. Longmont preserved Sandstone Ranch so as not to lose yet more of our heritage in the Valley.


This was life when agriculture ruled. Morse Coffin would been up early turning and baling the grass hay and bringing in other crops at every opportunity. He "homesteaded Sandstone Ranch in 1860, before Longmont was founded. He came from Illinois at the age of 22 with a shotgun, $40 and the clothes on his back. He worked in local mining camps as a whipsaw, supplying lumber for the first frame house in Boulder County, and later, most likely for his home on Sandstone Ranch.


Morse had a family of five children and, together with his wife Julia, improved his property from his first sod house to the grand Second Empire style home. Sandstone quarried from the cliffs on his property supplied the stone for his house built in the early 1880s, as well as for the ice house. The rest of the historic outbuilding were built from lumber around 1900."


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Taken on June 19, 2012