- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 13, 2015

AGUILAR, Colo. (AP) - Hidden in the sprawling plains near the winding Apishapa River stands the historic adobe ruins of a structure that was once an oasis for passengers along a dry and dusty stagecoach route in Southern Colorado.

The Foster House, surrounded by dead cottonwood trees about 4 miles east of Aguilar, was built between 1870 and 1872.

The two-story structure is a skeleton of what it once was and has aged through the elements for decades.

Historian and author Betty Jane Dotson said in her 11-page pamphlet, “Stage House at Apishapa,” that it was the home of Capt. James Allen Foster, a pioneer of the Apishapa from 1870 to 1895.

Foster, a Confederate, settled there after the Civil War. William Tilley, a Colorado City resident and enthusiast of the landmark, said in late 1867, Foster moved his family to land through which the Apishapa River runs in Southeastern Colorado. Historians say a stagecoach station, consisting of a small log cabin, already was established on the land.

“It was a stage station and hotel,” Tilley said standing in the shadow of the aging structure.

Tilley, who led a push to get the stage station on the National Register of Historic Places and the Colorado Register of Historic Properties, said the Denver and Santa Fe Stage and Express Company commissioned the construction of the cabin to serve as a swing station on the Denver and Santa Fe Stage line.

The spot also provided a stopping place for firefighters, who traveled along a logging trail called the Old Freight Road. Foster homesteaded the land and it was the beginning of the family’s horse and cattle ranch, the community of Apishapa and the Apishapa Post Office, all of which are included in the National Registry.

Tilley said the adobe house served as a home station on the route until 1876 when the Denver and Rio Grande Railway built a line near Foster House, which made stagecoach travel obsolete.

From 1876 to 1895, the Foster House served as a hotel and a retreat for people suffering from tuberculosis.

Currently, the property continues as an open-prairie cattle ranch with the remains of the original Foster buildings and structures, cemetery, visible segments of the wagon and stagecoach roads, and the site of the Apishapa community all within the National Registry nominated boundary.

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Information from: The Pueblo Chieftain, https://www.chieftain.com

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