What would become Oleo, consisted of 1950’s ranch houses and ponds at the south end of the property which take their water from the adjacent West Fork of Cebolla Creek. Construction of the first cabin began in July 1982. The 8-inch local spruce logs planed on three sides (D logs) were hauled up from a sawmill just outside of Creede. The construction crew was made up of mostly from the owners, their families, and recruited friends.
Construction methods were fairly simple. The main tools were chainsaws, levels, hammers, sledgehammers, chalk line, and one drill powered by a generator. No heavy equipment was present, but a lot of sweat was. The logs were joined together with 12-inch spikes driven with a sledgehammer. In those early days, there often were more workers than beds so many slept inside large wall tents pitched behind the ranch house. Workings on the cabins at the Oleo became a regular summer vacation for many.
In the summer of 1983 both the Aspens and the Loft cabins were built, and the interiors were completed over the next couple of years. La Garita, which in Spanish means “The Lookout”, was built over the summers of 1984 and 1985. All the beautiful reddish rock in La Garita fireplace was taken from the rockfall below Windy Point Overlook. The Willows was built next in 1986. The “moss rock” for the fireplace came from the rockslide at Powderhorn Gulch just north of the ranch. The Barn was built in 1987 and the Rambouillet cabin followed.
In 1987, the ponds were drained, then excavated with a bulldozer, and deepened in by Frank Wilcox who then was the sheriff of Hillsdale Co. Ever since they were created, these ponds have been stocked with Rainbow Trout every year. The Cebolla cabin was the last cabin to be built in the mid- 1990’s by manager Ronnie Reece. The interiors of each cabin are unique. Most of the cabinetry and staircases are handmade.
Most of the families who come always want to return again and again. It became known as a peaceful retreat, off the grid for families to be together in a great natural setting. Oleo would have never flourished had it not been for the welcoming spirit and hard work of the ranch managers we have been blessed to have over the last 40 years.
Over the years, our managers have been the “face” of Oleo Ranch, greeting families from all over. Three and sometimes four generations of families have spent time at the ranch. We hope to continue providing a peaceful retreat for many more families and generations to come.
Rick and Amanda (Owners)