John Coburn, born in Down County Ireland, on Christmas Day 1822, always felt that he had a special mission for his life. John was a dreamer who knew how to turn those dreams into reality. Dreams brought him to America where he first settled in Pennsylvania. There, he met and married his wife, Margaret Wilfong. Margaret shared John’s dreams as well.
He was interested in creating towns and that passion brought John and Margaret to Colorado where they constructed a ranch. This ranch consisted of a thirty-two room hotel and stable named the Downieville Ranch. The site was popular with Chief Colorow and his Ute tribe, especially when the tribe traveled to the Western Slope. The ranch was a good place to rest the horses plus the tribe was fond of the fresh breads baked for the hotel guests by Margaret Coburn, John’s wife.
The ranch/hotel was next owned by Emma Bridge and was converted to a boardinghouse. Delores and Ollie Jackson owned the ranch in 1947 when it burned to the ground and was not replaced. The area saw other entrepreneurial ventures such as Independent Oil and Gas, a small dairy queen, and a few homes. In 1955, a port of entry was constructed and is still in use today.
The ranch is gone but Downieville still serves as a great place catering to travelers. It is also a great community to raise a family.