HISTORY OF THE CONIFER RANCH
In the 1860s, thousands of gold prospectors rushed through Jefferson County on their way to gold strikes in Central City, Idaho Springs, and Leadville. Gold seekers traveled along crude roads, dug by hand, through the county’s narrow canyons and rough terrain. Teams of straining mules hauled freight wagons into the mountains and passengers journeyed in stagecoaches pulled by four pairs of horses. Along the way, settlers opened stage stops and roadside inns to provide food and shelter for weary travelers and rest for their livestock. One of these stops was in Bradford Junction (the area now known as Conifer) and is still here today as a welcoming place for visitors.
THE CLIFTON HOUSE HISTORY
The Clifton House, built in 1875 by Rudolph Pollitz and his wife, Mary Long Pollitz, is the crown jewel of Conifer Ranch. Now a registered historic landmark, this two-story beauty was not only a place for prospectors to rest and recuperate, but at one time was also home to a stagecoach stop, sawmill, and uranium mine. While the Clifton house has been updated with all of today’s modern comforts, it holds much of its original history in its surroundings and its integrity and visitors can get a glimpse of the early pioneer experience.