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Saving Last Dollar Ranch in Colorado Tony and Charlie are three-quarter Belgian brothers born within a week of each other. Saving Last Dollar Ranch in ColoradoAs fall gives way to winter, Duane Beamer moves the horses off the high pastures. Saving Last Dollar Ranch in ColoradoA monumental fieldstone and ponderosa pine gate welcome visitors to one of America's most beautiful ranches. Saving Last Dollar Ranch in ColoradoRanch life revolves around the log and fieldstone barn.
Saving Last Dollar Ranch in Colorado The Collins family takes a break from building the woodshed in 1923. We kids were expected to do more than simple chores like feeding the chickens and gathering eggs.
Vacations were rare, but for a week one summer my parents took three of us boys to the mountains in the heart of Colorado. My crowning mountain experience was a high school trip with friends of my sister’s, who took us on a two-week adventure to camp, fish and scale a few “fourteeners,” which is what local climbers call peaks over 14,000 feet. But my father gave me some good advice when I told him I wanted to ranch in the mountains someday.
I chose a career in construction, which eventually took me to all seven continents on projects of every description. While we were on a family vacation at a guest ranch near Ouray, in southwestern Colorado, we met Duane Beamer, who helped us find Last Dollar Ranch. Hastings Mesa, where Last Dollar Ranch sits in the shadow of the Sneffels Range of the San Juan Mountains, is named for George and Mary Hastings, who settled there in 1876, when it was part of Ute Indian territory. Brothers Boyd and Johns Collins moved to Hastings Mesa in 1901 and bought a quarter-section homestead. Unlike ranchers who took their cattle to lower elevations for the winter, the Collinses kept their cows close to the house and milk barn, braving the winter cold. By then, the mesa was well on its way to reclaiming the buildings, fences and irrigation ditches.
I was still devoting my full time to my job as president of Fluor Corp., which at the time was the world’s largest engineering and construction company. In 1994, we placed Last Dollar under a conservation easement donated to the American Farmland Trust. The Rocky Mountain Collegian is the source for news and information on the Colorado State University campus. Spooky CaliforniaSlowly, two eyes burned themselves into the paper, and a wide grinning mouth with the shattered remains of teeth took shape. Spooky GeorgiaI called to Jimmy, who was just a yard in front of me, but he couldn’t see the spirit floating toward us across the marsh. Spooky MarylandThe words in the article he was reading were following a faint, rhythmic pattern: Da-dum. Spooky MassachusettsAs I drove down the street paralleling the graveyard, I saw a white figure moving among the tombstones.

Spooky MontanaI awoke in the middle of the night feeling a cold breeze piercing my sleeping bag. Spooky New EnglandThe Devil said: "I can make you the richest man in the province if you sell your soul to me," he drew a thick parchment from his pocket. Spooky New Jersey"North Plainfield Fire Department," I said into the phone, expecting to hear the dispatcher calling us to a fire.
Spooky New YorkSuddenly, his eye was caught by a light rising from the ground in the cemetery. Spooky PennsylvaniaI was awakened by soft strains of music that seemed to come from everywhere at once. Spooky South CarolinaAll at once, the moon came sliding out from behind a cloud, lighting the scene in front of me. Spooky VirginiaAs if he sensed my thoughts, Goggle-Eyed Jim turned his face toward the window. Spooky WashingtonA huge wind swept through the bedroom, bringing with it the damp, salty smell of the sea. Spooky YellowstoneHe looked up towards the Crows Nest, far above, and saw a glowing figure in a white wedding gown slowly descending the stairs from the Crows Nest. Seventy years later, Vince’s crew carefully skidded the farmstead’s log buildings off their original sites, poured new foundations and moved them back into place before repairing rotted logs and leaky roofs.
Born and raised on a ranch far from town on the plains of Colorado, I was the ninth of 10 children.
My brother Jim and I were driving the tractor for summer tilling when we were just 6 or 7 years old. He told me to get an education and a good job to support my family, and then I could get my little ranch in the mountains.
Though demanding, it enabled my wife, Joan, and me to raise and educate our three children and finally buy the ranch of my dreams. It had almost everything I’d imagined as a boy: towering mountains, forests of aspen and spruce, lush meadows and abundant wildlife.
In 1917, they used drawings from Montgomery Ward to build a Victorian-style house, where three more children were born. I’m sure most folks in the area expected we’d just bulldoze the place and start over, but that thought never crossed my mind. So Joan and I formed Double Shoe Cattle Co., hiring Duane—the local man who’d helped us find the place—as ranch and construction manager. As in the beginning, we wanted both kinds of horses to be an integral part of the operation. This ensures that the 400 acres and buildings will remain a working cattle ranch, wildlife habitat and open space. So we started looking for nearby land at a lower elevation with good winter feed—and found Centennial Ranch, on the beautiful Uncompahgre River. Schlosser: Ghost stories, strange happenings, and paranormal folklore published by Globe Pequot Press.

Schlosser is a well-known author of "Spooky" books, and (Spooky Campfire Tales) is one of her best! Schlosser's ability to invent and craft an engaging short story around a fantastic legend, no matter how implausible, is a refreshing way of looking at legend and lore. Two white-blue eyes blazed out of the cowl that covered its head, and skeletal fingers gripped a large scythe.
His heart pounded in fear as before his startled eyes, a white mist burst forth from an unmarked grave and formed into a large horse carrying a headless rider. However, the nobleman did not want to raise another man's children and so he dismissed her cruelly. My father, a dedicated cattleman, also wintered a couple of thousand lambs on wheat stubble. In the early years, Boyd and Johns worked together, building nine log barns and outbuildings, planting, haying and keeping a few milk cows. They built up their milk herd to as many as 50 cows and bought range cows to pasture on the high meadows. Each morning after milking, Boyd harnessed a team, loaded a sled with hay and drove down to Leopard Creek, where the cattle were sheltered from the wind. With the help of local artist, designer and builder Ted Moews, Duane began working to restore the buildings as closely as possible to their original condition.
The ranch was too far from power lines to be hooked up to the electrical grid, so a generator supplied power.
The beautiful, lovingly built barn stands as the centerpiece of the ranch, offering the warmth of wood, the smell of hay and horses and welcome shelter from the high winds and winter cold. Just as in Boyd and Johns Collins’ heyday, working cowboys, cattle and draft horses share the clear mountain air with the elk, deer, coyotes and black bears. Lucille wrenched the doors open and stepped into the barn, the light from her lantern flickering across the dusty floor.
Schlosser has been telling stories since she was a child, when games of "let's pretend" quickly built themselves into full-length stories.
My oldest brother raised pigs, and we had a pony, saddle horses, a gentle team of draft horses, sheepdogs, cats and more cats. When he died in 1947, the family moved to warmer climates and leased the ranch for summer grazing. Thanks to this meticulous restoration, the buildings should retain their historic integrity for another century.
Life was a wonderful daily adventure—not that ranching in the years just after the Depression was in any way easy. In 1989, Boyd and Gertrude’s granddaughter sold the homestead and 400 acres to Joan and me.

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