John Gard Family
Melvin Olson Ranch
John Gard is mentioned in an article of the Castle Rock Journal in August of 1893.
“…corn and potatoes are the main crops. The potatoes look well but the corn is poor.”
Mr. Gard’s ranch is mentioned in another newspaper article, in the same paper, in 1899, as being located near Palmer Lake.
The first newspaper article mentioned, in the paragraph above, is the article that helped to launch this ranch biography project. The newspaper mentions a group of people, including the author of the article, who came into Palmer Lake on the train. They toured from Palmer Lake up Perry Park road to, what is now, Noe road. It is believed that they took Cook road, which ran along the Cook Creek. Then the groups’ tour was cut short, when rain threatened and they went back to the train in Palmer Lake.
The 1900 United States Census shows that John Gard was married to Anna B. Gard and that they had the following children listed with their ages: Viola E. 18, Alva W. 14, Luella C. 12, Christine 9, Manford and Maggie 6, and John B. 3. Mr. Gard’s occupation was listed as a railroad laborer.
It is known that Mr. Gard developed an interest in mining and in approximately 1900 he went to Idaho Springs to work in a mine. Then in the Summit County Journal of 1905, the Old Guard Mining Company is listed with John M. Gard as one of the incorporators. It is thought that the name of the Old Guard Mining Company’s mine was the “Puzzler”.
Many ranches were rented out and families moved regularly from ranch to ranch each spring trying their luck and finding the best place for their families. This was also true of the Gard Ranch and it is known that the McClure family rented this ranch.
This ranch was located about as close to El Paso County as you can get and still be in Douglas County, off 105 or Perry Park road. Because of the location the Gard family would have visited Palmer Lake more than they would have Larkspur or Castle Rock. Also, because of the location of the ranch the Gard family’s census information was collected in El Paso County.
This family also was associated with a newspaper and printing businesses in Palmer Lake.
Melvin Olson’s family was established in Monument. Melvin was well known for driving a milk wagon and for his work in the lumber business. During 1942 Melvin used his expertise with lumber to cut and mill the logs for his and wife, Emmalou’s, home on what was the Gard ranch. Their home did not have running water or electricity until 1944.
Melvin loved horses and became known for his ability to train, match and doctor them. His love of saddle horses saw over 185 horses coming and going from the property. He would train the saddle horses and bring them back to health if they had been neglected. He also had one of the last pair of Belgian horses in the area and used them in his lumber business to drag logs down the hills.
Emmalou Olson was a teacher in Palmer Lake, Monument, Table Rock, Colorado Springs and Divide, her first teaching job, where she also served as principal.
Mrs. Olson sold the ranch in approximately 1987.
This recent photo of the Gard ranch in the background also shows part of the Rampart Range close to Palmer Lake. The pasture land in the foreground was actually part of the Ben Lomond Ranch.
Thanks to Ancestry.com U.S. Census records, The Colorado Historic Newspaper Collection, the Palmer Lake Historical Society and the Lucretia Vaile Museum and the book “Palmer Lake a Historical Narrative”.