History of Staunton State Park
The first 1,720-acre parcel was donated to Colorado State Parks in 1986 by Frances Hornbrook Staunton. Subsequent parcels, including a portion of the Davis Ranch and Elk Falls property, were acquired in the late 1990s. In 2006, a small key parcel, called the Chase property, was added to the Park to reach its current land base of approximately 3,828 acres. The properties that make up the Park are rich in human history, having supported a variety of uses, including:
The Staunton Ranch began as a homestead around the turn of the 20th century. Drs. Rachel and Archibald Staunton were on their way to California from West Virginia and a rest stop in the Denver area convinced them that Colorado should be their new home. The first 160 acres of the Staunton Ranch was homesteaded by Rachel Staunton who lived there in the warmer months and provided medical care to the people who lived in the area. Some of her clientele were Native American families who bartered beadwork, pottery, jewelry, and rugs to show their appreciation and pay for her services. The Staunton Ranch grew to 1,720 acres over the years.
Frances H. Staunton, daughter of Archibald and Rachel, preserved and protected the Staunton Ranch throughout her life and gifted the land to the state in 1986 with the understanding that the ranch would someday be developed into a state park.
Elk Falls Ranch
The Elk Falls Ranch, on the west side of the Park, was purchased in 1999 to improve conservation and provide access to the Park. This acquisition added such landmarks as Lions Head, Chimney Rock, and Elk Falls to the Park. State Parks bought the 510-acre northern parcel of Elk Falls Ranch with Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Legacy Grant funds. The 540-acre southern parcel was purchased by the State Land Board and is leased to and managed by Colorado Parks & Wildlife.
The 1,000-acre Davis Ranch, also purchased in 1999 with a Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Legacy Grant, is located on the east side of Staunton State Park.
In 2006, State Parks, in conjunction with the State Land Board, purchased the 80-acre Chase parcel. This parcel was once owned by Mary Coyle Chase, a Denver native, journalist, and playwright best known for her play "Harvey" (Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1945). These acres will play a key role in developing important trail connections and future park roads.