For Sale

Centennial Ranch

$6,750,000 Montrose, CO 392± Deeded Acres

Executive Summary

Centennial Ranch is a picture of rustic elegance designed for the modern western family. This working 392±­­­­ acre ranch in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado honors the rhythms of the land by employing the highest standard of operations alongside unparalleled workmanship. Situated in the valley between stunning canyon walls along a half-mile of private access Uncompahgre River, the ranch encompasses a varied topography of hay fields, wildlife habitat, cliffs and riverside meadows. At its heart are the ranch’s unique buildings. Master craftsmen built the sweeping timber frame family residence, landmark barn and log line cabin to match its breathtaking views and traditional ranching values. The 6,000+ square foot Dashwood House is an Arts & Crafts home with an emphasis on design, construction materials and craftsmanship. It is a masterpiece blend of massive reclaimed timbers and recycled wood flooring accented with intricately designed and forged ironwork. Shortly after completion in 2003, Dashwood House was featured in Architectural Digest, along with the timber frame barn and line cabin.
The ranch supports 75 head of Angus mother cows and has utilized a magnificent team of Belgians for winter feeding. Alongside the spectacular barn and employee housing, sheds, corrals, pastures, irrigation ditches, and lodgepole and cedar fencing allow for the preservation of the land’s rich heritage as a working ranch.
With the world-class trout fishing Uncompahgre River tailwater flowing north through the property and acres of federal and state-protected land surrounding it, the ranch is a rare haven for native and migrational wildlife including deer, elk, a variety of fish and bird species, and even black bears and eagles. Current ownership has prioritized traditional ranching methods and protected the land with a conservation easement designed to maintain its values far into the future. Centennial Ranch is more than the sum of its magnificent buildings and outstanding operations, but an opportunity to return to a simpler time through the majesty and mettle of ranching life.

General Description

Nestled in the Uncompahgre Valley of the San Juan Mountains, Centennial Ranch is a testament to both beauty and function. The 392± acre property spans dramatic sandstone cliffs, featuring a half-mile of riverside and 97± acres of irrigated fields. This allows the land to support 75 head of Angus mother cows using traditional methods while offering a stunning 6,000+ square foot primary residence, barn and other buildings that live up to the landscape’s breathtaking views. 

Highway 550 runs through the property along its way to tourist destinations like the charming town of Ouray and the resort town of Telluride. Surrounded by federal and state-protected lands, the landscape is a picturesque blend of well-watered cropland as well as dry upland and rich riparian woodlands that allow the ranch to host a rare variety of both vegetation and wildlife. Pinyon pine and juniper trees cover the hillsides while Gambel oak, cottonwoods, and willow trees line the river. A variety of grasses populate the meadows and fields. Wildlife includes deer and elk, waterfowl and fish, and many bird species, including visiting bald eagles and golden eagles nesting on the ranch’s cliffs.

The ranch boasts masterful Western-meets-English architecture executed by specialty artists and craftsmen who designed and built the primary residence, barn and line cabin. The three bedroom-suite Dashwood House, designed by the finest timber-joinery architect, stands in a scenic meadow along the river for elegant yet comfortable living. The Amish-style barn, with its complementary timber-frame design, has become a landmark in the Uncompahgre Valley. A furnished traditional 650+ square foot log “line cabin” is a rustic reminder of a time before electricity or running water, intended to provide cowboys with provisions and shelter while working cattle close to the fence or the “line,” adding to the property’s charm and historic values.

Centennial Ranch offers the chance to live within the rhythms of the land, from fly fishing and hunting to exquisite scenery and working cattle operations. To preserve its rich ranching heritage as open space and wildlife habitat, current ownership established a conservation easement with the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust for the enjoyment of future generations.

Broker's Comments

Attention to detail is the cornerstone, passion and design of the Centennial Ranch. Mr. Kontny has taken a lifetime of travel, culture, business experience, his passion for the highest level of construction, appreciation for the agricultural industry, land stewardship, and combined all of it to be a reflection in this property. The highest standards of quality can be seen in every measure and our goal is to find just the right buyer that also sees, feels, and appreciates every element and aspect of the Centennial ranch.

Learn about the locale

Location

Centennial Ranch is located in southwestern Colorado in the San Juan Mountains, 10 miles south from Montrose in Ouray County and 70 miles south of Grand Junction. The ranch is surrounded by federal and state-protected lands, including the Billy Creek State Wildlife Area. 

Highway 550 cuts through the ranch, offering a stunning vantage of its open hayfields, cottonwood forests along the river, and sandstone canyon walls. The property runs from rim to rim of the valley that descends into fields along the river where cattle, agricultural operations, and residential headquarters are located.

Its location is both secluded and convenient, with a complete selection of goods and services up the road in Montrose, a charming western town with a population of around 20,000. Among its many parks, golf courses and shops, Montrose features a regional airport and a private jet center, Atlantic Aviation, with 10,000-foot runways and full-service commercial flights. 

Just twelve miles south is the small, historic town of Ridgway with its nearby stunning mountain vistas. Another ten miles south is the quaint town of Ouray, aptly named the “Switzerland of America.” Telluride, a year-round destination town with its world-renowned ski resort, is less than an hour’s drive from Centennial Ranch and offers a wide array of dining and shopping, outdoor and cultural activities.

The surrounding communities of Montrose, Ridgway, Ouray, and Telluride offer a lifestyle of recreational and community opportunities amidst all the conveniences of modern life.

Locale

Nearby Parks

Black Canyon National Park offers an unforgettable opportunity for hiking and camping, as well as rock climbing and kayaking. It features a canyon carved through solid granite for centuries, plunging 2,700 feet to the Gunnison River below. Surrounding state parks and federal preserves like the Uncompahgre National Forest, Billy Creek State Wildlife Area and Ridgway State Park offer even more activities such as hunting, birding, boating, camping, and fishing.

Montrose Parks and Recreation

The neighboring town of Montrose was named an All American city in 2013 by the National Civic League and celebrates the public lands surrounding it with a variety of outdoor activities including hiking, golfing, fishing, water sports, climbing, hunting, horseback riding, camping, and more.

Ouray Hot Springs

The historic mountain town of Ouray is just 30 minutes south of the ranch and calls itself the “Switzerland of America” for its mountain views and quaint Victorian buildings. It boasts therapeutic mineral hot springs as a way to relax after a day of outdoor adventure in the San Juan Mountains.

Telluride

Telluride, the #1 Best Small Town to Visit in the USA according to the US News & World Report, is less than an hour southwest of the ranch. It is renowned for its status as a seasonal playground with its world-class ski resort; plus an abundance of other activities including hiking, climbing, mountain biking, and fly fishing. Its singular laid-back mountain charm includes top-notch dining, lodging, and unbeatable arts and culture programming, such as the summer Telluride Jazz Festival that draws visitors from around the world.

Climate

The extensive fencing is effective for both controlling livestock access to the fields and marking boundaries on the ranch. Attractive lodge pole fencing with cedar posts graces the entry from the highway and runs through much of the most visible parts of the property. Unpaved roads make internal navigation through the ranch easily accessible. An additional employee residence occupies the property on the west side of the highway.

Aesthetic Considerations

Advertising Photo Shoots 

The ranch has hosted numerous Marlboro shoots, as well as television commercials and catalog shoots for companies such as Cabela’s and Urban Outfitters.

According to the 2004 Architectural Digest article on Centennial Ranch, “It’s all too fitting that dozens of Marlboro ads have been shot at the Kontnys’ ranches …They are ranches in their ideal — even idealized — form. Centennial in particular has a picture-book beauty, while still functioning as a working ranch.”


History

The ranch’s original homestead was established in the 1880s by James and Charlotte Smith on land that had long been home to the Ute Native American tribe. Referred to then as the “Smith Place,” it remained in the Smith family for five generations. The family worked cattle and produced hay on the property for 113 years. The governor of Colorado presented the Smiths with a “Centennial Farm Certificate” in 1988 to honor their century-long care for the property before current ownership renamed it Centennial Ranch upon their purchase in 1992. Since then, current ownership has made many improvements to enhance operations, restore historic structures, and preserve traditional agricultural techniques.

Learn more about the property

Acreage (Deeded & Leased)

Centennial Ranch is 392± acres, including 97± irrigated acres and a half-mile of private Uncompahgre River frontage. The property consists of meadows, woodland, fields, and hillsides within the Uncompahgre Valley.

Deeded Acres: 392±
Total Acres: 392±

Additional Information

In 1995, current ownership entered into an agreement conserving and forever maintaining the open space character, agricultural activity, wildlife habitat, and scenic qualities of the property. The easement is held by the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust and generously allows for the construction of an additional residence of up to 15,000 square feet as well as additional employee housing and a separate ranch office.

Some of the outstanding photography herein was provided by Roger Wade of Roger Wade Studios, Chris Marona of Marona Photography, Natalie Heller and Joe Shom. (Contact information is available upon request.)

Improvements

Master Craftsmanship

The utmost care, artistry, and planning make Centennial’s improvements unique as both a picturesque and operational ranch. The time-honored art of timber-framing, a self-supporting framework fastened with wooden joinery instead of nails, lends a rustic elegance to the primary residence and barn. Similarly inspired by tradition and of unmatched craftsmanship stands the line cabin on the river, built from hand-peeled and notched spruce logs with axe-cut ends. Extensive fencing, a historic calving barn, employee housing as well other operational facilities are in excellent condition for the operation of the ranch.

Dashwood House

The stunning Arts & Crafts timber frame Dashwood House is nestled in a meadow among the trees on a long bend of the river. The 6,000+ square foot ranch home was built in 2003 to capture the best of the light, taking advantage of its San Juan mountain view while being shielded by the canyon walls to the east. Dashwood House celebrates features from all over the country including massive recycled Douglas fir for the timber frame, reclaimed Southern yellow pine for the flooring, iron hardware from artisan blacksmiths across the nation, and brick, stone and tile features throughout. The port cochere welcomes guests through the timber and iron doorway before being greeted by the vaulted Douglas fir timbers of the great room and warmth of the native stone fireplaces. A spacious brick-floored mudroom gives hard-working cowboys a place to kick off their boots before gathering around a cozy eat-in table in the country kitchen. Three bedroom suites, a library, an office, a separate guest or caretaker’s suite, and a three-car garage make Dashwood House the height of function and comfort.

Timber Frame Barn

The traditional timber frame barn is a landmark of the community, declared a historic barn by the Ouray County Historical Society in 1995, the same year it was constructed. Its Amish design accommodates both large working draft horses and saddle horses used in ranching operations. The barn houses many custom-designed features such as hand-forged hardware and a collection of farming and ranching memorabilia that adorn its tack and harness room, hayloft, loafing shed, grain room, and shed bay for wagons and equipment. 

Authentic Line Cabin 

A charming 650+ square foot log line cabin sits on the river, harkening back to a time when cowboys “worked the line” on the outer edges of the ranch, hunkering down for shelter and provisions. It is simultaneously a testament to the wild west with its working hand pump and kerosene lamps and a country getaway with its large stone fireplace and custom hand-forged chandelier. Its massive hand-notched log beams with axe-cut ends, gleaming pine flooring, and iron and stone features complement the Dashwood house and barn.

Support Facilities

In addition to the landmark barn, the portion east of the river houses several buildings for ranching operations, including sheds, corrals, pens, and heavy fencing. A hand-hewn log house, one of the first structures built on the property in the 1880s, serves as headquarters during calving season. It is now an office attached to a modern calving shed. The extensive fencing is effective for both controlling livestock access to the fields and marking boundaries on the ranch. Attractive lodge pole fencing with cedar posts graces the entry from the highway and runs through much of the most visible parts of the property. Unpaved roads make internal navigation through the ranch easily accessible. An additional employee residence occupies the property on the west side of the highway.

Improvements at Centennial Ranch have been featured in multiple publications, such as the Architectural Digest, A Heritage in Iron, and A Ranching Legacy. 

Water Resources

Centennial is well-watered with its half-mile of Uncompahgre riverside and efficient irrigation systems. Major irrigation ditches and other control structures deliver water to the crop fields and stock water for cattle and horses. The river flows north and is home to many waterfowl and fish species, working not only to bring water to the fields but to provide family recreation and tranquility.

Water Rights

Any and all seller-owned water rights appurtenant to the property are included in the sale.

Mineral Rights

Any and all seller-owned mineral rights appurtenant to the property are included in the sale along with any additional found information.

Learn about the recreational amenities

Wildlife Resources

Centennial Ranch is a true wildlife habitat with its proximity to federal and state-protected lands and topographical diversity. Large game such as deer and elk enjoy the riparian and cliffside terrain. Both waterfowl such as Great Blue Herons and a variety of fish species, including rainbow trout, occupy the river and bottomlands while songbirds and red-tailed hawks flock to the forested cottonwood floodplains. Wildlife from Canadian geese, red foxes, beavers, marmots, and more find their home in the sprawling pastures and riverbanks on the ranch. Centennial is preserved in perpetuity by a conservation easement making it a rare haven for all its wildlife, including the eagles nesting among its cliff sides and even the majestic black bear striding across its fields. 

Recreational Considerations

Western heritage is alive and well at Centennial Ranch with ample opportunities to create quality time for the family and get back to a simpler life. Traditional activities from horseback riding to cattle drives and seasonal branding events are an integral part of life on the ranch.

Fly fishing is another outdoorsmen’s pastime along the peaceful Uncompahgre River, known as a hidden gem among Colorado’s avid fishermen. The river is a well-stocked tailwater with four different trout species, including trophy rainbow trout and large, naturally reproducing brown trout. 

Bowhunting for deer and elk is particularly popular in the fall, and duck hunting on the river during winter.

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