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Nachtrieb Ranch no longer in the family

Brief by Central Staff

Local History – August 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine

One of Chaffee County’s most direct links with its past was severed on July 8 when the heirs sold the 448-acre Nachtrieb ranch at auction for $1.7 million.

The heirs — Joe, Chris, and Dan Nachtrieb — all have other careers, and decided to sell the family ranch. They are the great-grandsons of Charles Nachtrieb, a Denver storekeeper who ventured to California Gulch with goldseekers in 1860.

He moved down to the mouth of Chalk Creek in 1866 and opened a store. Apparently the Utes had as much trouble with Germanic names as Anglos have with Ute terms. The name sounded like “Nathrop” to them, and that was the name that went to the post office.

Charles Nachtrieb went on to build a flour mill in 1868. That attracted Otto Mears, who was growing wheat near Saguache, and after he lost his first load on the rough route, he built a toll road over Poncha Pass.

Charles Nachtrieb was killed in 1881 by a former employee in a dispute over wages.

The main Nachtrieb ranch, 203 acres, went as one unit, and seven 35-acre sites were sold separately, with one buyer purchasing two.

As for the nearby town of Nathrop — not long ago, it got a new post office building, but early this summer, the general store (“the Nathrop Mall”) burned down and was a total loss.