Daniels Park Wellhouse, CO 2020

“Best known for its bison herd, Daniels Park is a Denver Mountain Park, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Home to historic ranch structures, Daniels Park is the site where Kit Carson was said to have made his last campfire. It is also home to the Tall Bull Memorial Grounds cultural area.” –Douglas County

PROJECT PARTNER: Denver Parks & Recreation – Denver Mountain Parks and Denver Mountain Parks Foundation

SESSION DATES:   TBD

Please plan to arrive at our campsite no earlier than 6pm and no later than 8pm on the first day of your session. 

PROJECT DIFFICULTY: 

SITE INFORMATION:         Site is RV/trailer accessible  Tent camping only 

LOCATION:  We will camp right onsite! The sunrises and sunsets from our campsite overlooking the mountainous Continental Divide will be unforgettable, and we can also expect to see one of Denver’s two bison herds in and around Daniels Park. HistoriCorps volunteers have special permission to camp on this usually-off-limits site. There are no hookups and the ground may not be perfectly level. Please plan to arrive no earlier than 6pm and no later than 8pm the first day of your session.

ABOUT VOLUNTEERING:  HistoriCorps projects are free for volunteers! HistoriCorps will provide all meals, tools, training, and equipment, and a campsite. Volunteers are responsible for their own transportation to the campsite, sleeping equipment, work clothes and boots, and other personal gear. Most projects have one spot per session for a “Kitchen Helper” in addition to our project work volutneer spots. Scroll down to read more and register!

HistoriCorps does not charge for its volunteering projects. The majority of project costs are covered by our project partners and grants, but as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, HistoriCorps relies on donations to continue engaging volunteers to save significant historical sites across America for generations to come. Your donation of any amount will make an incredible difference! Increase your impact – make a generous gift today.

Project Site Description & History

The City and County of Denver possesses a rare and unusual resource: its vast Mountain Park system. Mountain parks are spread across five counties in Colorado, and all of them offer a permanent access to the state’s famous mountains and foothills for city residents and visitors alike. Unique even within the system are its two bison herds. One herd roams through Gennessee Park, which travelers can observe from Interstate 70, and the other herd roams across Daniels Park’s 1,000 acres. Daniels Park is also home to a handful of memorial sites, including the Tall Bull Memorial Site and the Kit Carson Memorial. Motorists will take note of the park’s historic road (in fact, it’s Colorado’s first Territorial Road) and the stupendous, never-ending view it offers of the Rocky Mountains and the Front Range.

The park was originally owned by Florence Martin, whose family used the area as a ranch and summer home. The home itself is a significant example of craftsman style rustic architecture, and in 1995 earned a Denvier Landmark historic district designation. Florence Martin donated her lands to Denver in two parcels: one in 1920, and one in 1934. Today it is a celebrated location for picnicing, bison-watching, and strolling. HistoriCorps volunteers will have special permission to actually camp on the grounds – and we’re positive the sunsets and sunrises over the mountains will be unforgettable.

You can really see the “battered” shape of the building! 

This oddly-shaped building has lots of well-crafted architectural details. Keep an eye out for them when you’re working here!

Peek around the building to the southwest, and you just might see another HistoriCorps project on a distant peak: Devils Head Fire Lookout. 

On a clear day, the view of the Rocky Mountains extends for a hundred miles or more.

Today, the park is managed for its ecological resources, as described by Kiersten J. Mayer of Colorado Community Media,

Just over a hill to the west of Castle Pines North, massive, shaggy plains bison grazing placidly can sometimes be seen by motorists puttering along a dirt stretch of Daniels Park Road. What people see are direct descendants of the 1914 herd from the Yellowstone area that was the beginning of the preservation effort. tanding in the midst of Daniels Park, some might never realize that the high-end community, where home prices average more than $600,000, is less than a mile away. In the spring, the matriarchs of the herd watch over small, buff-colored calves. A pair of bulls, which can weigh an average of 2,000 pounds and stand 6-feet tall at the shoulder each, hovers at the outskirts of the herd. This small troop of plains bison, which averages between 27-29 animals, roams 850 acres in northern Douglas County.

The entire 1,000 acres of Daniels Park, which is part of the Denver Mountain Park System, is a prime example of a high plains and shrub land mixed ecosystem. Gambel oak, Ponderosa pine, gramma grass, sagebrush, chokecherry, mountain mahogany, wild sweet pea, Indian Paintbrush, Cowboy’s Delight and blue bells are prolific across the hills and down in gullies of the park.

Our 2020 project work will focus on the roof of the park’s unique, historic wellhouse. When we visited the site with our Denver Mountain Parks partners, we couldn’t help but be enamored with the building’s sloped sides, lovely touches of craftsmanship (for being just a wellhouse!), and of course the views! The wellhouse’s shape is called “battered,” and the rear of the building holds a large cistern that stored water for ranch operations. Curious volunteers should take time to study and explore how water was obtained and moved around the ranch at this “high and dry” location – what you learn may reveal some fascinating ingenuity!

Scope of Work

HistoriCorps volunteers will work alongside field staff to learn and improve their skills with the tools and equipment required to re-roof the Daniels Park Wellhouse, as well as protect some of the building’s siding. The new roof is urgently needed, and is designed to protect the building for up to 5 years while funds are secured to install a more permanent roof. Volunteer and staff crews will:
  • Remove deteriorated asphalt shingles and decking on the wellhouse’s main roof and porch roof (10%)
  • Install new decking and asphalt singles (50%)
  • Patch areas of siding, focusing on the areas of siding that have been covered by plywood. (30%)
    • One interesting thing about this building is that it has three (yes, three!) different kinds of siding! Volunteers will see shiplap, clapboard, and tongue-in-groove siding styles.
  • Rehabilitate windows (10%)

Please note: Tasks vary by day and by week, depending on a variety of factors including: weather, project priorities, previous groups’ work, and more. Though it is likely you will get to learn and practice most or all of the above tasks, it is not guaranteed. The higher percentage of the scope a particular task is, the more likely you will get to practice it.

Volunteering Safely During COVID-19

DRAFT as of June 15, 2020. Will be updated by July 1, 2020.

MASKS All volunteers are required to bring at least six reusable, washable face masks. Volunteers will wear two masks each day (one for camp, one for the jobsite). They will be washed once throughout the project. Masks are required for when working less than 6 feet apart, or in an enclosed environment.
GLOVES All volunteers are required to bring their own work gloves.
HEALTHY ARRIVAL Volunteers will only join projects if they are not experiencing any symptoms of illness, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle aches, or other symptoms of COVID-19 as identified by the CDC. Volunteers will not plan to travel to or through areas highly impacted by COVID-19, nor outside of the US, within 14 days before their project begins. Volunteers will affirm that they do not believe they have been exposed to a person with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, are not waiting to be cleared as noncontagious following a diagnosis, and have been following all recommended guidelines as much as possible by practicing social distancing and taking other precautions. Volunteers will travel to the jobsite alone, or with someone they live with (such as a family member) who has also shown no signs or symptoms of illness.
IN CASE OF INFECTION Any volunteer or staff member that developes COVID-19 symptoms must immediately self-isolate and leave the jobsite. If the individual is physically unable to do so, staff will follow Wilderness First Aid guidelines for medevac.
FOLLOWING HISTORICORPS PROTOCOLS All volunteers are required to abide by and practice the health and safety protocols that HistoriCorps staff are implementing.
CREW SIZE CAP All volunteer crews will be “capped” at a maximum of six volunteers.

Volunteer Logistics, Policies, and Advice

We’re so glad you’re interested in joining this project! If you’re new to our community, review the Volunteer FAQ first! Please note the following logistics and policies:

  • Volunteering with HistoriCorps is free! We will provide all meals, tools, training, equipment, and a campsite or shared indoor lodging. Dinner is not provided on the first night.
  • Volunteers are responsible for bringing their own gear, sturdy work clothes and boots, and appropriate sleeping equipment. Check the average temperatures before you start packing – the nights and mornings may be colder than you anticipate! Then, read this advice about how to stay warm when tent camping in colder places.
  • Campsite accessibility varies by project. Some projects can accommodate tents only; others can accommodate medium-large RVs. Please review the project site description above for more information, and if you’re still not sure, email volunteer@historicorps.org for help.
  • If this project does not offer showers, you might want to consider bringing a solar shower or research other methods to clean up after the work day
  • Volunteer crew sizes generally range from 4-8 volunteers, with two HistoriCorps staff that lead and train volunteers in the work.
  • Volunteers are asked to arrive after 6pm and before 8pm on the first day of their session. If you would like to request special permission to arrive early, please email volunteer@historicorps.org.
  • Safety is one of HistoriCorps’ top priorities, and volunteers can contribute to a safe working environment by ensuring their physical fitness is adequate for the work. See above for this project’s scope of work and difficulty level. Please, call us if you are not quite sure if a project is a good fit for your skills or fitness level. We may be able to suggest a project more suitable and enjoyable for you.
  • Dogs are generally allowed to accompany their humans to jobsites (actually, we love having dogs join us around the campfire!). However: HistoriCorps also follows the rules and regulations of our project partner. If the project partner does not permit dogs onsite, then HistoriCorps is no exception. Please ask HistoriCorps or the project partner directly if you have any questions about whether Fido is welcome.

Sign Up!

Volunteer registration will open soon! We’re thrilled you’re planning to join this project!

  • Session 1: October 11-16

    • Session 1, Kitchen Helper

  • Session 2: October 18-23

    • Session 2, Kitchen Helper

  • Session 3: October 25-30

    • Session 3, Kitchen Helper