Please Note: The interior of the Case Barn is closed to the public and access to the barn may be restricted due to weather or other conditions. Please contact the Refuge Headquarters before visiting the area (970-723-8202).
The area that is now Walden, Colorado was first settled in 1880 by miners, who were followed by ranchers. In 1889 Walden was established where the roads from Laramie, Wyoming to Teller City, Colorado and Albany, Wyoming to Granby, Colorado crossed. This location was selected because the founders wanted to start a trading center that served ranchers settling in the area and miners in Teller City. The land was originally known as "Point of Rocks" but a new name was eventually desired for the settlement. It was named Sagebrush for a time, but it was then renamed Walden, after Marcus Aurelius Walden. On December 2, 1890, Walden was incorporated and received a post office.
In general, the land in this area was sagebrush uplands that required strenuous work to convert to farmland and required irrigation. The Case Ranch was different from the majority of the ranches in Walden because it kept sheep, in addition to cattle.
Owen Case moved to North Park in 1889 and taught school in Rand, CO, that winter. He also started ranching with a small herd of cattle. In 1901, Owen Case purchased the Hubbard Ranch and enlarged his herd. Several years later, he bought Middle Ranch with his brother, Carl. Later, Owen purchased Newby Ranch. Owen and Carl had sheep as well as cattle on the ranch. Owen Case married Nellie in 1912 and they had two sons, Sumner and Richard. Sumner managed the ranches after Owen and Nellie moved to California 1.
Carlos C. Case patented 160 acres of land in Township 8 North, Range 80 West, sections 13 and 24 on March 2, 1918 under the Homestead Entry Act and established the Case Ranch. On November 28, 1930, Esther M. Case patented 320 acres in Township 8 North, Range 80 West, sections 13 and 24 under the Desert Land Act, and thereby expanded the Case Ranch. The ranch headquarters were built on the land patented by Esther Case and by 1966 included a residence, cookhouse, bunkhouse, sheep shed, sheep barn, cow barn, horse barn and chicken house.
In the 1970s, the Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge took possession of the ranch. Little information remains on the construction of the Case Barn. In 1991, the USFWS surveyed the barn and the recorder at that time estimated the barn to have been constructed in 1948.
1 Gresham, Hazel. History of North Park. 1st ed. Steamboat Springs, CO: The Steamboat Pilot, 1975. 160-165.