The 17 Mile House is a 160-year-old farm that was an imperative resting stop for pioneers journeying on the Cherokee/Smoky Hill wagon routes in the 1860s. Nowadays, visitors are welcome to take a walk through history by touring the scenic farm grounds from daybreak until nightfall. The house and barn interiors can be visited by groups only if they make prior arrangements.
A historic home, red barn, silo, milk house, and loafing shed dating from the early 1900s are all part of this heritage site. There’s also a pair of windmills and 32 acres of open turf in the area. A trailhead to the Cherry Creek Regional Trail is accessible via The Farm Park, which features picnic tables, a parking lot, and a Port-a-let.
This structure was erected on the Cherokee Trail in the 1860s by an unknown builder. The 17 Mile House was a critical resting point for settlers along the historic route. Although it has been claimed that it was once a stage stop, according to Margaret Long’s book The Smoky Hill Trail, it served meals and offered lodging to travelers rather than being a stage stop.
The house was originally taken from the United States government by a soldier named James Barron. It’s uncertain who constructed the first part of the building, but it was most likely erected by a squatter like many of the early settlement buildings in the area. Squared logs were used to construct the basic structure, which was later covered with clapboards.
The house was originally built by George Clayton and Mary Hightower as a private home. After defaulting on a $200 loan from William M. and George Clayton, Mary pledged the property as collateral. The Claytons sold the place to Susan & Nelson Doud, who ran the 20 Mile House in Parker, becoming known as the 17 Mile House owing to its distance of 17 miles south of Colfax and Broadway in Denver. It was one of several mile houses along the Cherokee Trail that brought travelers into Denver from the south.
In 1977, a number of developers began working on several development plans for the land, all of which required the loss of the house and barn. The Cherry Creek Historical Society managed to prevent these proposals by preventing their implementation.
This is a wonderful stop on your trip through Centennial, Colorado, and it’s a great way to learn about the history of the area!
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