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2nd year of Rock Ledge greenhouse fundraising at Folk Art Festival Sept. 16-18

      
This photo from the late 1800s shows the Rock Ledge House - then in its early days - and part of the greenhouse that was built behind it (far left). A goal for the city's Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site is to recreate that greenhouse, in a similar style and location. However, continued fundraising is needed.
Courtesy of Special Collections, Pikes Peak Library District
When the Chambers family built the Rock Ledge House as their home around 1880, they put a greenhouse behind it to grow vegetables.
       So why not have a greenhouse at the present-day Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site?
       That's how Kathy Read feels, and she's taking steps to make it happen.
       Her annual Folk Art Festival, which attracts thousands of attendees, raised $20,000 for the greenhouse goal last year. She hopes to duplicate that at the 38th annual event Friday to Sunday, Sept. 16-18.
       Featuring about 160 vendors - many from around the country - the 38th annual festival will take place on the ranch hayfield, which is not far from the restored Rock Ledge House. The parking lot is off Gateway Road at 30th Street.
       "We'll have a ton of new people [vendors]," said Read, who is the owner of the Holly Berry House in Old Colorado City and founder/organizer of the Folk Art Festival. "If Mother Naure is kind to us, it's going to be really great."
       The times are Sept. 16 from noon to 6 p.m., Sept. 17 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sept. 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
       The $6 entry fee is good all three days.
       Since the eighth year of the fair, when she moved the location to Rock Ledge, Read has donated its after-costs proceeds to Rock Ledge Ranch's historical restoration efforts. That amount over the years has totaled well over $1 million.
       A greenhouse at the ranch would be especially significant from an education standpoint, Read believes. “There would be the potential of teaching incredible horticulture classes,” she said.
       City Parks design staffers are working on preliminary plans, with the cost for eventual construction roughly estimated at $200,000.
       According to ranch manager Andy Morris, the idea is to have a building similar to what the Chambers had. The size “has not been officially determined” but would be “somewhere in the realm of 20 by 18 feet,” he said.
       The location would be “close to its original location behind (west) of the Rock Ledge House,” he added.
       Morris cautioned that it will take awhile to work out all the details, not to mention raise the money. For example, he noted, “It's not something people are going to see when the ranch reopens for the season next June.”
       Read would like to “get the community involved” in funding the greenhouse plan, but said she expects that her festival “will be the main source.”

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 9/7/16; Outdoors: Rock Ledge Ranch)

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