Joseph Franklin Gile and the Divide
There are some things that make the Divide a very special region in Colorado. For one thing the altitude here is 7,000 feet which makes the grasses and wildflowers more abundant than anywhere else in Douglas County. When the settlers came along the Cherokee trail they were impressed with the moisture laden Spring Valley area and the beautiful view of Pikes Peak to the south.
Most Douglas County settlers in the 1870s lived and worked on a farm. As these farms grew and became established they would become stage stops for weary travelers along the Cherokee trail. Frequently a large farm included a post office, general store, and blacksmith shop and so became such a center of activity that the surrounding homesteaders referred to it in the same manner as they would a town.
This area is part of the western portion of the Cherokee Trail and was settled by Joseph Franklin Gile in 1860. Mr. Gile came to Denver by wagon train before coming to Spring Valley. In July he settled on the Platte Arkansas Divide in Spring Valley along West Cherry Creek and plowed the first furrows in the Divide region. It was overrun with Indians and antelope. The Antelope; were countless as were the buffalo, trout, coyotes, rabbits, bear, mountain goats and mountain lions. He later planted and sowed the ground to turnips which yielded well. Unfortunately there were so many antelope that they ate the turnips so he took the rest to Denver to sell for 20 cents a pound. This area later became known as potato country, but is probably remembered best for its dairy cattle operations and all the by-products such as cheese, butter, and ice cream.
Mr. Gile’s ranch served as the Spring Valley Stage Station: Barnum and Company ran weekly stages from Denver to Pueblo and stopped at Gile’s ranch to leave the mail.
Thanks to Penny Burdick