Oral History captures the history of the ranch including how Susan Jessup became associated with the ranch, unique qualities of each ranch, and a few favorite stories connected to running the ranch.
Guest Ranch near Loveland, located in Big Thompson River Valley
Abbreviated Interview Timeline:
:40 Personal history and connection
• Born in Bakersfield, California in 1944, moved to Colorado in 1946 when her parents bought the ranch
• Susan is 2nd Generation guest rancher
1:30 Ranch History
• Native American history in region, Freemont people and later Ute and Arapaho
• First white settler William Alexander
• 2nd owner Frend Neville sold cattle ranch to Christian Church School – Cotner College – who used it as boys and girls camp.
• Susan’s father, Maurice worked there in 1936 and fell in love with the ranch.
• Took a teaching job in Ault, CO and married the school secretary, Mayme “Tillie”
• 11 years later, superintendent of schools in Victor, had two children – Susan and her older brother David
• In World War II, Maurice was a Lieutenant in Amy Air Corp and nearing the end of the war received letter that the ranch was for sale. He had the winning bid offering $12,502 for 125 acres and used the children’s war bonds for down payment.
• Because of polio epidemic the boys and girls camp was canceled the first year they owned it, so the Jessup’s transitioned the property into a guest ranch
• The Big Thompson Flood of 1976 forced them to sell 2,000 of the 5,000 acres the ranch had grown to encompass.
• Following the flood in 1976, Susan took on more responsibility at the ranch in lieu of pursuing a teaching career.
• 2013 second flood forced her to rebuild a second time.
13:00 Future of the ranch
• Education non-profit created, the Heart J Center for Experiential Learning Center, will be the successor organization merging Maurice and Mayme’s passions for the ranch and education.
13:45 Final Thought
• Sylvan Dale meaning– Wooded Valley – named by English settlers
Recording Length: 14 minutes 51 seconds
Listen to the interview at https://soundcloud.com/historycolorado/sussan-jessup-owner-dave?in=historycolorado/sets/colorado-dude-guest-ranch-association-oral-histories