SCLT Explore History Features Ucross

July 10, 2024

News – Sheridan Media


On July 9, Sheridan Community Land Trust Explore History Program featured the history of the Ucross Foundation and Big Red. Attendees carpooled from the Hub on Smith to Ucross, and Caitlin Addlesperger, Deputy Director at Ucross, and Laura Jean Schneider, Ucross Communications Manager, talked about the Foundation and some of the history of the ranch.

Addlesperger talked about the Ucross area

She talked about how the land was once the Native American hunting grounds, and she mentioned that there were several teepee rings in the area of the Big Red Ranch. She said the Foundation is respectful of that. She added that the ranch was incorporated at the end of the Indian wars.

What was once the town of Ucross, located near the junction of highways 14 and 16, went through several names over the years, Cedar Rapids, Dow, Charger and finally, Ucross, named after the original Pratt-Ferris brand.

While the house and ‘Big Red Ranch Complex’ are on the National Register of Historic Places, the Big Red Barn, which houses the art gallery, is not as it was in such poor repair when the Foundation took over the buildings it had to be extensively repaired. The ranch house was in bad shape as well, but it was renovated and today houses Ucross staff offices.

Adelsperger talked about the Ucross Foundation Artist residency program, the difference between The Ranch at Ucross, just west of the Foundation, and the Ucross Foundation, and what the Foundation offers to artists.

Schneider talked about the renovations on the Big Red Ranch House.

The group took a tour of the ranch house, and a tour around the grounds to the artists’ studios, the art gallery, and down along the creek, as the ranch sets at the confluence of three creeks, Clear Creek, Piney Creek and Coal Creek.

One of the buildings at the foundation, which is used as resident housing, is the Burlington Northern Depot Building, which once stood along the tracks in Clearmont. In 1991, it was relocated to the Foundation and renovated. There is also a building which was, at one time, the Ucross School.

A more in depth look at the history of the Big Red Ranch and the Pratt-Ferris Cattle Company will be posted on Saturday on Sheridanmedia.


Last modified: July 10, 2024

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