Subfacility of Wheat Ridge Historical Park
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About the Baugh House
A little hand-hewn log cabin built in 1859 by James H. Baugh is encased in a circa 1904 frame Victorian farmhouse built by the second owner, Samuel Longnecker and thought to be the oldest cabin still on its original site in the State of Colorado. The Baugh House is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and the Colorado State Register of Historic Properties. The official designation took place August 14, 2012, in recognition of the property's contribution to the heritage of the State of Colorado.
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More info: Wheat Ridge Historical Society
James H. Baugh was a 27 year old Missouri native who came to Colorado with thousands of gold seekers in the spring of 1859. He arrived in Denver City on June 1, 1859. Surely he spent time placer mining for the precious metal. No doubt he traveled west out of Denver bound for the gold fields of upper Clear Creek. On his way to Golden he must have seen the fertile valley formed at the base of the mountains. In 1859, placer mining occurred along this plains section of the rivers but little gold was discovered.
Baugh's success or lack of success in gold mining is not recorded for history. However, on August 15, 1859 he located on a spot just north of the main road (Prospect Trail) between Denver and Golden City, which is present day West 44th Avenue. Baugh's claim for the 160 acre homestead was imprecisely executed because there was no legal Land Office in which to file a claim, no survey to establish section lines and no legally constituted Recorder to record the legal instruments. The land, which was part of a land grant to Polomia Garcia y Padilla, a veteran of the New Mexican Volunteers of the Navajo Indian Wars, was finally legally assigned to Baugh in 1867.
Back in 1859, Baugh had joined several hundred other men in staking farming claims along Clear Creek between Golden and the confluence of this creek with the South Platte River. Most of these men stayed but a short time. Some measured their stay in days, others for weeks and months. A few stayed for a year or two. A very few, perhaps a dozen or so became permanent inhabitants with a long term commitment to the region. Baugh was one such man and helped establish Jefferson County as a center of agriculture.
From 1859, the demand for Colorado grown produce was apparent and the financial gain for those able to get produce to market was substantial. By 1867, Baugh's farm, which was a long narrow parcel extending one-quarter mile wide by a full mile long, had 64 acres under cultivation with 20 in wheat, 35 in oats, 7 in potatoes, and 2 in garden produce.
Beginning in 1889, the farm was divided and sold in 10 to 20 acres tracts. Just north of the Baugh House is the Sod House which may have been Baugh's first dwelling. The Sod House (Soddy) along with 15 acres was sold to Bert White. The 10 acres immediately surrounding Baugh's original log home was sold to Samuel Longnecker. Longnecker and his daughter, Ella Snowberger-Martin, owned the property until 1929. It was during this period that the two-story frame addition was built enclosing the log cabin with the assessed improvements recorded in 1904.