Owners of the 1862 Virginia Dale Overland Stage Station and the 1909 Hurzeler House
Who We Are
The History of VDCC
The Virginia Dale Home Demonstration Club was formed in 1921 by nine local women in conjunction with the State Home Demonstration Clubs (later known as the Larimer County Extension Homemakers). Initially, the focus of the club was to teach new techniques and short cuts in the areas of gardening, food preservation, cooking, and sewing thus making life easier for the women and their families.
During the 1940's, the club put its efforts into wartime causes such as scrap metal, blood, and war-bond drives. By the late 1940's, the club was searching for ways to purchase or build a community building using its war bonds. Up until this time, it was able to use the Hurzeler/Club House and the Virginia Dale Stage Station due to the goodwill and generosity of Fred and Maude Maxwell, local ranchers and owners of the buildings, but a more permanent arrangement was desirable.
Preserving the Past
The Maxwells, people with extraordinary foresight, seized the opportunity to do something more for the community and future generations. In 1964, they bequeathed the Stage Station and the Hurzeler House to the club for its use as a community building and a place in which to hold club meetings. The war bonds were used by the club to repair and improve the condition of both buildings.
Through the years, the club changed its name several times. The focus also evolved to emphasize the importance of rural lifestyles and the preservation of the Stage Station and Hurzeler House for the enjoyment of the community and the historical benefit to future generations. The Virginia Dale Stage Station was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.
The Virginia Dale Community Club is a current registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
Importance of the Stage Station
In 1862, the United States Government commissioned Ben Holladay to move the Overland Trail Mail Route from the North Platte Valley to the old Cherokee Trail, which later became known as the Overland Trail. This was the only route that the mail coaches and emigrants were allowed to use from 1862 to 1868 because of Indian uprisings on the northern route.
Mr. Holladay hired Jack Slade, purported outlaw, to build the Virginia Dale Stage Station in June of 1862. Jack named the station Virginia Dale in honor of his wife, and it became a bustling place of activity. It was not unusual to have fifty to one-hundred wagons with their loads of merchandise and freight camped at Virginia Dale. The popularity of Virginia Dale as well as the notoriety of Jack Slade were spread from coast to coast by Overland Stage travelers, emigrants, magazine writers, and newspaper correspondents. For more information on Jack Slade, please see The Death of a Gunfighter. In 1866, Ben Holladay sold the line to Wells Fargo, who continued to operate the stage line until 1868.
The completion of the Union Pacific Railroad to Cheyenne in 1866 halted stage coach travel, and the Overland Trail and the Virginia Dale Stage Station were abandoned. In subsequent years, the building has been used as a residence, general store, post office, and now a community hall. It is the only Stage Station on the Overland Trail Stage Station in Northern Colorado on its' original foundation and with its' original logs. It has been referred to as one of "Colorado's Legendary Treasures" and "Larimer County's Most Important Historical Site."
Stage Station Restoration
February 2019 - The restoration of the Stage Station is complete at a total cost of $78,165.18. Contributions for the project, including both cash and in-kind, totaled $49,190.18 and the value of member volunteer time totaled $79,671.08. What an accomplishment! Thank you to all of our faithful and generous donors and to our selfless volunteers who have worked so tirelessly on this project. The dedication ceremony held last June was a great chance to showcase our finished project, and all who attended were very complimentary of the final outcome.
Our next project is what to do with the log Hurzeler House. The rock foundation is giving way and some of the sill logs are rotting. The windows are also rotting and the roof leaks in spots. We did consult with a couple of timber framers, but no clear course of action was recommended.
We will continue our fundraising efforts and apply for appropriate grants until the project is completed. Donations of cash, materials, and volunteer labor are needed and greatly appreciated. If you are interested in helping or need more information, please contact us.
Submitted by: Vicki Uthmann
VDCC Board Member and Treasurer