By Teresa L. Benns
SAGUACHE— Last Thursday the Saguache County Planning Commission (SCPA) reviewed a conditional use permit (CUP) modification request for the new owner of Old Cow Town, Diane Dunlap, who is planning a series of summer concerts at the resort.
Dunlap and resort manager Pam Fye presented the CUP modification to the SCPC and received approval contingent upon setting up a security plan and presenting documentation of the resort’s water usage with the Division of Water Resources.
Dunlap said these contingencies will be complete when the CUP modification goes to commissioners July 17.
The businesswoman says she is now in the process of acquiring the property. Dunlap will be the fourth owner of the recreated old western town over the past eight years, but unlike previous owners, says she does not intend to run the resort as a for-profit operation. Instead, she hopes to preserve the quiet country life at the town and allow those wishing to spend time there a relaxing place to enjoy the resort’s unique ambiance.
Old Cow Town is located off Highway 114 down CC 36, a typical frontier town nestled snugly against the gentle hills outside Saguache. Old Cow Town or Vaca Loca Ranch is a classy, upscale model of similar tourist spots in Kansas and Arizona, and is sure to satisfy that Old West nostalgia for those wishing to experience life in an old western town in the 1800s.
Great attention to detail has resulted in the authentic recreations of this Old West town, originally conceived and built by its first owner, Myron Smith. A boarding house, saloon, general store, restaurant, bank and other buildings, including a picturesque church, line a main street straight out of “High Noon.”
The resort plans to host some destination weddings and Dunlap says she plans to erect a mock Boot Hill behind the little church.
The Mad Cow Saloon is a work of art, graced with a mural, oil painting and frosted glass bar mirror created by Saguache County artist Wade Collins. Collins’ incredible rock art and landscapes are still tastefully displayed throughout the town, Dunlap said.
In addition, Old Cow Town has its own Livery Stable. Dunlap says she has livened up the ranch with her own livestock, including chickens, peacocks, cows, dude and draft horses and pigs, placed in a building used by former owners as a long-distance rifle range.
Many of Dunlap’s own antiques have now been added to the museum on the property.
“I always dreamed of living in an old western town, but I never thought it was possible,” she said. According to Dunlap, she purchased the resort to do what she had intended to do ever since coming to the Saguache area — promoting the county and helping to preserve its heritage.
In addition to the concert series, the resort will host private fundraisers, corporate retreats and other private events. Beside the concerts, she also hopes to hold rodeo and roping events, complete with chuckwagon dinners as well as other public functions.
To inquire about reservations or concert tickets, call 719-655-2224.