Colorado’s ranching biz just isn’t what it used to be. But what to do with the once-bustling rural compounds lying abandoned amid sweeping western landscapes? Why, turn ‘em into a library, of course!
At least, that’s the answer for Buffalo Peaks Ranch, a 60-acre site about an hour and a half from Denver. Buffalo Peaks is the home of The Rocky Mountain Land Library, which contains a collection of some 35,000 volumes about the American West amassed by a pair of bookstore workers—Jeff Lee and Ann Marie Martin—over more than two decades.
Lee and Martin took out a 95-year lease on Buffalo Peaks, and just launched a Kickstarter campaign asking for the $125,000 needed to renovate the ranch’s historic Cook’s House into the heart of their new nonprofit operation. The plan is to revamp the building to house the book collection, a full kitchen, dining room, bathroom, and two bedrooms for volunteers or artists-in-residence.
Volunteers have already camped out at the site and worked on the old building for the last two summers, replacing the roof, painting the exterior, and repairing windows. But much more needs to be done, including reinforcing the roof, adding insulation, renovating the interior, installing a new heating system, and updating the plumbing.
Lee and Martin envision their finished Land Library as a beacon and safe haven for readers, writers, artists, and nature-lovers.