Even 152 years ago people knew this was a special place.

The ox-drawn wagon of George and Sarah Church pulled up in 1861. Weary yet wide-eyed, the homesteaders from Iowa tossed the reigns aside and strode across the virgin prairie that would become the foundation of their new future.

 

In the years that followed—on present-day Candelas land and other family ranchlands—honesty, a hard work ethic and wholesome family values all took root. George, with the help of his wife and young son, harvested Colorado's first successful wheat crop, was the first to bring irrigation to the region, and introduced Hereford cattle to the state.

 

Even in later years, the ranching heritage continued as family descendants drove cattle over Rollins Pass through Rocky Mountain National Park on their way to Granby each summer. George and Sarah Church, who both endured to the age of 88, have forever influenced life and industry on the Front Range.

Today, new generations of settlers can follow in the couple's pioneering footsteps, and carve out a better life on the historic lands that once bore the legendary Church name.

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