Come to the Place Where Pioneers Once Walked: 17 Mile House Farm Park
Arapahoe County celebrated the opening of the 17 Mile House Farm Park, the newest gem in its open space crown, with a formal dedication, ribbon-cutting and fall festival on Oct. 20.
The 70-acre park, located at 8181 South Parker Road, adjacent to Cherry Creek and the boundary of Arapahoe and Douglas counties, features a restored farmhouse, silo and two replica windmills, as well as a new trail-head to connect users to the Cherry Creek Regional Trail system.
Named for the 120-year-old home that sits on the property, the park is a County Designated Heritage Area and was once part of the historic Cherokee Trail stagecoach route to Denver.
“We are in a place where pioneers once walked,” said Arapahoe County District 2 Commissioner Nancy Sharpe, “And that makes this a very important place in Colorado history.”
While the park gets its name from the house, it has been explained the house got its name from its distance from the intersection of Colfax and Broadway in Denver.
When the 1859-1860 gold rush brought settlers to Colorado, six way stations emerged along Cherry Creek to accommodate the growing number of travelers.
Known as “mile houses,” they were located every two to three miles along the Cherokee and Smoky Hill trails, all named based on distance to the city. Upon arrival, travelers could eat, find lodging and rest their animals before proceeding to Denver.
Out of the original six mile houses, only 17 Mile House and 4 Mile House exist in their entirety today.
In 2001, Arapahoe County, Douglas County, Town of Parker, Great Outdoors Colorado, Gates Family Foundation, Colorado State Historical Fund, Urban Drainage and Flood Control District, City of Aurora and Trust for Public Land partnered to preserve the 17 Mile House as a historic site for others to enjoy.
Funding for the project came in part from the county’s voter-approved Open Space sales and use tax.
Park Hours: Open from dawn til dusk but home tours are available by appointment only. Call 720-874-6826
Residents can step back in time during a visit to the 17 Mile House Farm Park.