To whom it may concern:
My name is Frank Gray, and I am a three times great-grandson of Jacob Ehrhardt. Jacob homesteaded in the Arkansas Valley in 1862 and spent the next 13 years in a productive and public life. He narrowly escaped being bushwhacked by Three Fingers Espinosa in 1863 but succumbed after being lynched in 1875 by the same gang that murdered Judge Dyer. We believe that this event spurred his son Thomas Jefferson Ehrhardt on to a public life where he served in the Colorado Legislature and became Colorado’s first Commissioner of Highways.
My family feels that the Ehrhardt family represents the best of the frontier and would like to see the buildings of this homestead preserved. It is worth noting that the old Centerville Cemetery is located on a hill adjacent to the Ehrhardt buildings. This cemetery, with its spectacular view of Mt. Princeton, is the resting place of many of the early area pioneers, including many Ehrhardts and Evanses, who are my family’s ancestors.
One possibility would be to make a living history museum similar to the Hornbek Homestead just south of Florissant. The other would be to make the parcel with the buildings a public park, leaving the buildings closed. A path could be constructed to the cemetery and the result would be a unique historic park the would show the realities of life in the west and be a benefit to the whole community.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and hope that this part of Colorado’s history can be preserved.
Editor’s note: The Ehrhart Ranch referenced in Gray’s letter is part of the ranch which is the subject of the Centerville Ranch Major Subdivision proposal.