Legacy Homestead Barn, Chaffee County

Legacy Homestead Barn, Chaffee County (1)

Legacy Homestead Barn, Chaffee County

This barn has stood as testament to the fortitude of a family in the Colorado peaks for more than a century, its weathered exterior the evidence of perseverance and wisdom. But a new storm is battering the high valleys and front range of this mythical state, the hurricane of urbanization and development. Outside this small ranch that overlooks the Arkansas River valley, an 8-foot-by-10-foot real estate sign proclaims, “Legacy Homestead for Sale. Original Buildings. Ready for Development.”

Realtors’ “Property for Sale” signs are now more prevalent in high summer than Colorado’s   fabled wildflowers. The signs litter nearly every driveway, every Forest Service road with access to private land. It is nothing short of the sale of legacy to the highest bidder, the relegation of pioneer heritage to nothing more than an available tract of ground. Wolves to the hunt.

And so I return to this image. Look closely, for it bears the indelible mark of modernity and society upon it. It is not just a survivor, but a symbol of inaccessibility and suspicion, of gated communities, and of “haves” and “have nots.”

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3 comments

  1. Is that a security camera? And boarded up windows?
    I like how you have aligned the gables; there is a really nice asymmetry and tension in the roof lines.

    1. Your insight is wonderful. It’s a security lamp, and yes, the windows are boarded up–and there’s a massive padlock on the barn door. All modern amenities for a barn standing amidst the onslaught of capitalism gone haywire. I’m glad you like the image and the micro composition; it took me about two weeks of going back to this barn again and again, as well as a lot of thought at other times, to decide how I’d tell the story of the real estate boom in Colorado.

      1. One has to hope that the boomers will respect the legacy buildings and embrace them as worthy of preserving, at least enough of the time to keep the feeling around.
        I think your other post of a repaired roof wtih window and wall suggests this might be the case some of the time. That is a very interesting shot too, btw, though I did not comment, I had meant to come back and do so, but dinner intervened in my viewing.

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