Photo courtesy of Charles Keim.
Backstory and Context
Charles Bradford was born June 7, 1844, in Astor, Long Island, New York. He was raised and educated in Chicago, Illinois until 1860. He enlisted in Company 1, Third Illinois Cavalry during the Civil War and remained in the military for four years. In 1866, he headed west, landing first in Central City, Colorado. He married Sarah White on September 25, 1868.
On June 30, 1881, Charles Bradford purchased the land west of the current Lyons Middle/Senior High School which he used for his farm. He eventually sold the property to a Longmont real estate developer who divided the land and sold it in smaller tracts. One of the farmed tracts included an extensive fruit farm. The Bradford Homestead remains on the property. It is a small two-story sandstone building with a cellar.
Charles Bradford went on to open the Bradford Saloon, one of the many saloons in Lyons, Colorado. Charles Bradford went on to raise hares and then trout. He was highly involved in the community, serving on the school board for thirty-six years and helping build the original Montgomery schoolhouse. He was in charge of the landscaping of the school grounds. Charles Bradford helped build the Methodist Church as well. By 1911, Charles Bradford was cashing checks in his saloon.1
In 1996, the Lyons Historical Society became concerned about the Town selling the Bradford Homestead, which was on the Olson property. The Historical Society requested that the Town of Lyons keep the building and surrounding acreage. The property has since been purchased by private owners. The Bradford Homestead is currently on private property and is registered in the National Register of Historic Places. Please view the building from the road.