On July 6th, Historic Larimer County hosted a two part tour. We started out at the Bingham Hill Cemetery, the oldest cemetery in Larimer County, where Judy Jackson shared the history of the cemetery itself as well as that of several people who have been buried there. Next we headed over Bingham Hill to the historic Bingham Farm where Ron Sladek gave us a tour of a surprisingly intact farm complex complete with original homesteading cabin, a house designed by local architect Montezuma Fuller, a very old barn and silo, and much more. The Bingham Farm is private property, so this was a wonderful opportunity to see a historic place with permission from the owner. What follows are photographs from the Bingham Hill Cemetery and Bingham Farm tour.
Judy Jackson is holding a copy of Rose Brinks’ book in this photo. The cemetery is on Rose’s property and no one had every recorded who was buried there. So Rose spent several years reading through newspapers and interviewing people and has documented as many people that have been buried in the cemetery as she could.
The tour group stand around Judy as she gives the story of the cemetery. The resent rains which caused the original tour to be delayed also gave us a beautiful green setting for this tour.
Judy stopped to tell us about a marker that was set up in the cemetery in the 1980s to honor those for whom there was no other marker who had been buried there. (Many early markers were made of wood and have long since disintegrated.)
When a stone becomes so broken and fragile that it can no longer be repaired, money is raised to purchase a new stone. The old stone is retained so people can see the original, but the new stone enables visitors to read the original inscription. As much as possible designs and text on the new stones is identical to the original.
Every stone tells a story, which Judy shared with our group.
All of the work that is done to maintain the cemetery and repair or replace broken or stolen items is done by volunteers. This sign for the cemetery was the work of a couple of volunteers as well.
The Bingham Hill Cemetery is away from the road and set in a pastoral setting, which could be why it is such a well beloved cemetery in the area. People come from all over the world to visit, as documented in the guest books that have been maintained for decades by Rose and Judy.
This barn on the Bingham Farm can be seen from the road. What can’t be seen is that when a nearby barn was pulled down, the entire back wall of this barn went with it and is currently completely open to the field behind it.
This stone circular structure was the base of a water tank. The water could easily be poured into the trough to the left.
The barn and silo make a picturesque image.
These two horses were curious what we were up to. Either that, or they had some history they were hoping to share with us.
Ron Sladek pointed out the old milk barn which looks like a one story structure, but it was built into a hill with a second story beneath what’s shown here.
The original one story cabin is still located within this building to the lower right. Three more additions were added over time including the second story. The siding was added some time in the early 1900s.
This is a close up of the back side of the older house where the original cabin beams can be seen at left and an oddly “grouted” addition can be seen to the right.
This house was designed by famed local architect Montezuma Fuller.
The advantage of being on a tour like this was that things that looked like one thing actually turned out to be something else. Most of us had just assumed that this wall was set up over a lower field to keep horses in. It was odd that the ground on one side of the wall was higher than another, but we didn’t give it much thought. But Ron pointed out that there used to be a barn in this location and the “stone wall” was actually the foundation of that building. When he passed around an old photo of the property, it was one of those “ah ha!” moments when an oddity suddenly made a whole lot of sense.
This was another “No way!” moment. Ron took us to see what looked like a normal old field with a normal old irrigation ditch running through it. But what we didn’t realize was that the hill to the left was actually where the old Greeley, Salt Lake, and Pacific train line ran on its way to Stout.
Learned more about my childhood area. I grew up in Bellvue on Sidney Dairy Farm. I spent hours playing nearby. Thank you for info and the work to preserve history.
Wish I could have been there. So much wonderful history! My grand-aunt Salvina (Flowers) and husband Jerry Beach owned part of the Bingham farm and lived on the property in the late 1880s.
The Bingham’s are my ancestors. Would you ever consider taking my big family on this tour? The last person Buried at Bingham hill in 1996 was my Grandma Frances VerStratten
Hi Jamie, I’m sorry I didn’t notice your comment until now. Yes! We’d love to host you for a tour of the cemetery. Judy regularly gives tours and would be happy to do so (once the virus subsides). If you ping me through the contact form on this site, I can connect you up with her. – Meg
I belong to a “Quester’s” group in town. We study historically significant places, things and events and help with preservation and restoration of things. At the moment our state project is to help with the funds to restore part of the Stanley Hotel buildings in Estes. The state Questers have also helped with the funds to restore the governors’ pictures found in the Colorado capital building. There are 18 members in my particular Fort Collins group. We meet once a month from fall through spring and each give a program on an antique or building at the meeting. My program this month is the Bingham Hill cemetery. I would be interested in bringing our group on a tour next fall of the cemetery or the Bingham Hill farm or both if you would be able to do this. – Kathie
Hi Kathie. One of our board members, Judy, frequently gives tours of the cemetery. I’m sure she’d love to give your group a tour of this beautiful, historic site. If I remember correctly, Judy is part of the Auntie Stone Questers group. 🙂
I have discovered that I have a few family members buried in the Bingham Hill Cemetery. I would greatly love to find out if there is a register of those buried in this lovely little cemetery and how would I contact anyone for further information. My daughter lives only a few miles from this area and we’ve driven by, but haven’t known if access is even allowed for visits.
Hi Pat! Yes! There’s a book on the cemetery that includes who is buried there. I’ll email you with more info.
I would love to tour the Bingham Hill area…possibly this summer.
Historic Larimer County will be giving a tour of nearby Bellvue on May 13th. historiclarimercounty.org
They’re also planning a tour of the Provost Farm (hopefully… there’s some ownership changes taking place so we’ll have to see what happens) around September or so. The Provost Farm is at the base of Bingham Hill and includes the Bingham Hill Cemetery.