An episode of the Rocky Mountain PBS show “Colorado Experience” featuring Salida’s historic Hutchinson Homestead will premiere at a free showing at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 28 at the Salida SteamPlant theater, 220 W. Sackett Ave. A question-and-answer session will follow from 7:30 to 8 p.m.
The same program will be featured on Rocky Mountain PBS (Denver Channel 6) at 7 p.m. Feb. 6, midnight Feb. 7 and 4:30 p.m. Feb. 9.
The show highlights the early history of the 1870 homestead and how that ties into broader Colorado history. The Hutchinsons were one of the first ranching families in Chaffee County.
Maj. Joseph Hutchinson, born in 1840, served in the Civil War after enlisting in the 18th Indiana Volunteer Infantry. After mustering out, he moved to Lake County and became superintendent of the Gaff Mining Co. and the Cash Creek Placer. In 1874 he bought land near Poncha Springs and began ranching. Since that time, the ranch has been operated by seven generations of the same family.
Hutchinson represented a big chunk of the state in Colorado’s newly formed territorial legislature in the mid-1870s. Later he was a Chaffee County commissioner, serving until his death in 1882.
In 1963, his grandson Dr. Wendell Hutchinson, a popular Chaffee County veterinarian, co-wrote “Under the Angel of Shavano,” a book on local history, with George Everett.
Guidestone Colorado currently offers youth programming and other events at the Hutchinson Homestead & Learning Center on the north side of U.S. 50 between Poncha Springs and Salida. Restoration of the homestead began in about 2003, and the historic property was opened to the public in May 2013.
“Filming took place last winter from January to March, and then the film crew came back at different times during the year,” said Andrea Coen, executive director of Guidestone Colorado.
“The presentation also includes some cool footage brought in from across Colorado and some neat footage of Dr. Wendell Hutchinson from archives at the Salida Regional Library. It was neat to hear his voice and see him again. He was such a beloved part of Colorado.”
Coen noted that from a statewide perspective, the Hutchinson Ranch is pretty unique and is still in the family.
“We’re really thrilled about this,” Coen said. “It’s such an incredible opportunity to have been invited to be an episode on ‘Colorado Experience’ and to be able to share the story with such a broad audience. It’s pretty exciting.”
Julie Jackson, director of the documentary, said she is also excited about the showing. “I live in Salida part time and I’m always looking for something to do in this area,” she said.
“Hutchinson Homestead,” a book by Betty Plotz, is available at Salida Regional Library.