Arapaho Valley Ranch has a rich and wonderful history in Colorado and knowing the story makes the visit even more special.
As history shows, Colorado was a huge mining community. When the mines were exhausted in the late 1800s, some of the locals turned to ranching. In the Upper Grand area of Colorado, Henry Lehman was one of those ranchers. He was a homesteader and built a ranch on the South Fork of the river where the family took in guests, travelers, and fishermen. Henry built his Lodge along the South Fork of the Colorado River, which ran through the valley where Lake Granby sits now.
Henry passed in 1919 and the ranch was purchased by the Knight family of St. Louis. Harry Knight’s most important place in local history was his friendship with Charles Lindbergh. When Harry Knight was president of the St. Louis Flying Club he developed a great respect for the “ace pilot”. Lindbergh had pioneered the airmail route between St Louis and Chicago. Because of his skills, Knight chose Lindbergh as his personal flight instructor. Harry convinced the head of the St Louis Chamber of Commerce to have them help Charles by sponsoring his famous flight with a check for $15,000.
Upon completion of the New York to Paris flight in 1927, Knight built an airport on the ranch. Writings of the period indicate that Harry built the airport just for Lindbergh. However, Harry also was a pilot in his own right. Lindbergh would fly over the divide and onto the ranch mostly for weekend visits.
Years passed and Lindbergh became involved with other activities that did not involve the Knights. Water storage became the most important problem facing them. The Granby dam was proposed for construction. After completion of the dam, the Knight family auctioned off their house, bunkhouse, and all the town buildings on July 27, 1946. These buildings were moved onto our property by rolling them on logs. The property at that time was called Murray’s Camp, providing camping and cabins to guests and travelers. The Lodge that Henry Lehman built and the Knights called their home is the same Lodge where we welcome all of you today. We are also grateful to have the town’s Dance Hall at AVR, which we are in the middle of renovating.
AVR changed hands a couple of times over the next 30 years, continuing to operate as a guest and dude ranch until the Wild Family took it over in the 60s and 70s.
Matt and Barb Gold purchased the ranch from the Wilds in the late 1970s and continued to operate AVR as a dude ranch, raising their family there, and spending the next 20 years providing a wonderful and special mountain vacation for people. To this day we receive comments about how special their time at AVR was and how the memories will forever live on.
The Golds decided to close the doors in the 90s after a huge snowstorm took out powerlines and damaged many of the cabins. The property was used strictly as a private residence until 2010 when Todd Gold, Matt and Barb’s youngest son, met his soulmate, Emily.
Emily and Todd were married on the ranch in 2012 and decided to re-open the property as a camping and glamping facility so that people could once again enjoy this special property. Emily and Todd have 3 children and a dog named Roosevelt and were committed to once again creating memories that will last a lifetime for their guests.