Alonzo Hartman Biography Cover

Q and A with Alonzo Hartman about his Stone House at Dos Rios Ranch

Who was Alonzo Hartman?

Alonzo Hartman is one of the founding fathers of Gunnison, Colorado, a small city on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains. He is also credited with being one of the first cattlemen to drive a herd into western Colorado, significantly influencing the cattle ranching industry in the area that is still alive and thriving today. Hartman is a well respected figure from western Colorado history, and this “interview” gives you a glimpse into his thoughts regarding the famous stone ranch house he and his wife built, locally known as Hartman Castle.

Q and A with Alonzo Hartman

The following is an “interview” with Alonzo Hartman about his stone ranch house at Dos Rios Ranch near Gunnison, Colorado. When Hartman was 82 years of age he wrote a few pages of stories and memories from his life. The answers in the interview are direct quotes from Alonzo Hartman from those few pages of stories which are included in his biography, Biography of Alonzo Hartman.

We have crafted questions to make it appear as if we are speaking with Hartman. While we were not actually interviewing him—which may be obvious based on the fact that he passed many decades ago—the answers are authentically the words of Alonzo Hartman. Enjoy!

Q: Why did you originally decide to build the ranch house?

A: “In 1900 a cow kicked me in the ear and destroyed the nerve. I grew more and more deaf, and that made the post office work harder. At last we decided to give it up, build a good house and move to the ranch.”

Q: How did you come up with the large turret on the building?

Alonzo Hartman Castle near Gunnison, Colorado in Pictures
Photo courtesy of Denver Public Library Special Collections

A: “Annie was an artist and admired Gothic architecture. She drew many pictures of the house she wanted, and one requirement was a turret room where she could look out of the window and draw pictures of the beautiful landscape around her.” (Page 9)

Q: Was there running water in your stone ranch house?

A: “[Annie] had a friend who was an artist-Laura Sears. Laura’s husband, Del Sears, was an inventor. A former plumber, he had made enough money to buy a ranch high in the hills. He was a socialist, and as {there was} hardly anybody around with his ideas, he became sort of a hermit. He was also an epileptic and subject to sudden rages that frightened Laura, though when he was himself he was the most gentle of men, refusing to raise cattle because he hated killing anything. He helped me a great deal with the water system for my new house, suggesting a windmill which pumped the water. It was rare to have water in a ranch house then.” (Page 9)

Dos Rios Ranch 1940s - Photo from biography
Photo from Biography of Alonzo Hartman, accessed via Englewood Library

Q: How did you and Annie spend time in the stone ranch house?

A: “Annie tried to paint but found she had no time; for our second daughter was born in 1900. The older children, too, had many friends and we gave many parties for the young folks and their parents. Annie kept up her work at Sunday School and at least once a year invited her Sunday school class for a big party. Sister Lou (Annie’s Sister} was married at our house to George Williams of Grand Junction. Later they moved to Paradox Valley.” (Page 9)

Family - Photos from biography cropped 1
Photo from Biography of Alonzo Hartman, accessed via Englewood Library

Q: Do you have any final words about your life at Dos Rios Ranch

A: “And so I guess I’ll let it be the happy ending to my story. I’m 82 years old, my hearing is gone, my eyes are bad, and I’ve about worn out my dictionary looking up all the words I didn’t know how to spell. I just want to say Thanks to all the people that helped me and overlooked my faults and saw my virtues. Thanks to my children for making me proud of them. A million thanks to the best wife on earth. Thank God for a wonderful Life.” {Page 13}

Alonzo Hartman - Photo from Biography
Photo from Biography of Alonzo Hartman, accessed via Englewood Library

Restoring and Preserving Hartman’s Stone Ranch House

Hartman Castle Preservation Corporation is a grassroots, non-profit organization dedicated to saving the historic Hartman Castle. They are currently raising funds to restore and preserve the magnificent home that Alonzo and Annie built on Dos Rios Ranch. You can learn more about their preservation efforts and future plans by visiting Make a donation today to support their community efforts using the donate button below!

If you enjoyed this “interview,” you may also like our other stories about Sam and ALonzo Hartman:

Applied Worldwide Lifestyle

Applied Worldwide Lifestyle is a lifestyle blog run by sociologists, nomads, and sustainable living enthusiasts Luke Hanna and Stephanie Wilson. It is focused on travel, food, photography, social history, and sustainable living. Join us in crafting a lifestyle that feels worth living!