Facing the Frontier:The Story of The MacGregor Ranch


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by Betty D. Freudenburg
published by the Rocky Mountain Nature Association (Rocky Mountain Conservancy)
Estes Park was a wilderness in 1873, with land virtually free for the taking. That year, a ranch was begun along Black Canyon Creek. More than a century later, the MacGregor Ranch remains a working ranch and living history museum where visitors come to sample life on the frontier. Located along the boundaries of Rocky Mountain National Park, the ranch is owned and operated by a charitable trust dedicated to its preservation.

The story of the settlement of the ranch is a uniquely American pioneer saga. Two families, the MacGregors and the Adams, came west from Wisconsin seeking better health and new lives. Battling hostile elements, tragedy and disappointment, they prevailed and went on to play key roles in the settlement of Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Denver and Estes Park. One would become governor and patriarch of a family of important Colorado politicians.

Telling their stories – often in their own words – is author Betty D. Freudenburg. Having discovered rare articles, diaries and correspondences during her decade of research, the Estes Park resident retraced many of the footsteps of the Adams and MacGregors. Facing the Frontier is an extraordinary look at three people swept up in the tide of western migration that followed the Civil War. The story of Alva Adams, Alexander MacGregor and Clara Heeney MacGregor is the story of early Colorado. Softcover, 118 pages