Rock Ledge kicks off Holiday House Tours

       The first of the new Holiday House Tours at Rock Ledge Ranch drew a favorable response from the participants Dec. 9.
       The tours, which were also scheduled Dec. 10 and 14 and will conclude Dec. 20 and 21, are giving visitors longer, more intimate guided tours than previously offered at the restored Rock Ledge and Orchard House buildings at the city-owned historic site.
       Lasting close to an hour, each tour is led by a trained volunteer, dressed in the period of the time. The visits conclude with tea and a plate with the kinds of diverse snacks that might have been provided at the turn of the 19th century.
       “It was great, very different,” said Karen Schor-mann, who joined her mother, Becky, on the Dec. 9 tour, led by Rock Ledge volunteer Martha Davis. “You don't always think about the history in the area, so coming here was very nice.”
       The Schormanns attended with family friend Mary Jane Ray, a former Rock Ledge volunteer. “It gives you a real feeling of what life must have been like back then,” Ray said. She had been inside the historic dwellings before, but “it was nice to go through slowly and really see things.”
       Another member of the group, Jean Blucher, said afterward she had a “wonderful” time. “I'm very interested in old architecture, and this was indicative of an old home we once owned in downtown Colorado Springs.”
       The Rock Ledge house was built by the Chambers family when they farmed and ranched the property in the 1880s, while Colorado Springs founder William Palmer commissioned the construction of the Orchard House in 1907 for family members who were moving to the area. In addition to historic styling, the Orchard House also provides an example of how servants lived in the same house as the owners, but in a different part of it.
       Almost none of the Orchard House's original trappings remain (although they have been replaced over time by historically correct furniture, drapes, paintings, etc.). Davis got a laugh from the visitors when she revealed that one of just two original items that remain is the kitchen sink.
       Davis was glad to hear that the tour-goers had enjoyed themselves. “I enjoy this house so much,” she said.
       Owned by the city, Rock Ledge Ranch is off 30th Street and Gateway Road.

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