Hover over the image below to view a zoomed panorama of Hanson Mesa

The first mesa northeast of Hotchkiss was originally called Drummond Mesa after old man Drummond, who built a log cabin and lived on the mesa for several years.  Drummond never filed for land and left the country when the mesa became too crowded.

Moses Rhoads filed the first homestead on the mesa on April 2, 1887, for 160 acres.


Oren F. Morrison filed for 160 acres on September 19, 18889.


In 1890, Andrew Monette Hotchkiss, son of Enos T. Hotchkiss, and Monette’s wife Jemima owned both of these homesteads.  Andrew Monette (A.M.) Hotchkiss also bought Morrison’s rights in the North Fork Farmer’s Ditch.


In 1891 Monette Hotchkiss sold 320 acres on the mesa for $3,000 to John Edward Hanson, the man for whom the mesa was named.  Included in the sale were 320 inches of water in the North Fork Farmer’s Ditch

From The North Fork Times:

Hanson purchased 320 acres of land on the Mesa where he lives, and divided it into 5, 10, and 15 acre lots… This land is level and is in a high state of cultivation.  These are very desirable tracts in a most agreeable settlement and within easy reach of town.  They are bound to enhance in value as the town and community advances.

Born in Denmark, Hanson came to America at the age of four.  After attending schools in Michigan and Chicago, he headed west in 1884.  He came to Hotchkiss to see a friend, Joeseph Reich, and partnered up with him on a stage line that ran a mail route.  After moving back to Lake City, Hanson’s wife died suddenly, and he turned to gambling.

Hanson returned to Hotchkiss and bought land, eventually owning the mesa named after him.  He continued the Farmer’s Ditch, ran cattle, organized the First National Band, and, in 1902, married Marcia Skinner.


After establishing the 7X cattle ranch, Hanson contracted the stone mason Alvin Sherman (of the Hotchkiss brickyard) to build Hanson Castle on his Leroux Creek property.    Cut from local rock, this building still awes travelers taking 3100 Road up Grand Mesa.   He thought himself a cattle baron after purchasing the Figure Four Ranch in Har’s Basin in 1905.  However, like many cattle empires, his did not last.  A steady decline in beef prices, high cost of feed, over-expansion, and other factors contributed to the demise of Hanson’s cattle and land holdings.

Ever wondered about Coal Road?

(or as most Hotchkissians say: the old Coal Road)

This steam powered tractor hauled coal from Burdick mine on the crest of Oak Mesa.