The Greenland Open Space is located in south-central Douglas County. In 1871, the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad had built through here and left a railroad siding behind. Come 1875 and Fred Soloman surveyed and platted a 20-acre townsite around that railroad siding. Just to the north was the Greenland Ranch, homesteaded a few years earlier to take advantage of the tremendous amount of deep-grass-covered open range around here. To the east, west and south were a number of smaller cattle ranches. The famous author and poet Helen Hunt Jackson is the person credited with naming the town "Greenland," also saying she was overwhelmed by the natural beauty of the area. Within a few years of its founding, Greenland became a major trading and shipping center, shipping more cattle every year than any other train stop on the the Front Range.
The picnic shelter pictured above mimics the design of the Higby Mercantile, an operation that opened for business on July 6, 1907. Higby sold general merchandise, gasoline, Model T Fords and Deering farm equipment. Nearby is what remains of the Greenland School, built in 1892 and offering education in grades 1 through 8 up until it was closed in 1957.
Today, a broad coalition of land trusts, local and state governments and agencies, and private landowners came together in a collaboration that has saved this last, almost-pristine, large chunk of green, open space between Denver and Colorado Springs for future generations. Many local private landowners sold their development rights and put conservation easements on their properties. While these private properties are not available for the public to hike around on and explore, they will never be developed into residential subdivisions. Large pieces of the countryside were bought outright and are held in land trusts so that they will never be developed, too. It's these publicly owned tracts that offer miles and miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding in this beautiful area.
Part of the old settlement at Greenland
The famous Greenland Ranch barn, just north of the public open space