Rourke Ranch, also known as the Wineglass Ranch, was a cattle and horse ranch founded by Eugene Rourke in 1871. Three generations of the Rourke family lived and worked on the ranch ensuring its survival over a span of a hundred years. When the ranch was sold in 1971, it was known as one of the oldest and most successful enterprises in southeast Colorado, expanding from Eugene's original settlement of 40 acres to well over 52,000 acres. Rourke Ranch is now a National Historic District.


  • Rourke Ranch, CO
    Rourke Ranch, CO
  • Rourke Ranch is nestled in the Comanche National Grassland
    Rourke Ranch is nestled in the Comanche National Grassland

The beautiful Picketwire Canyon saw a great deal of growth and settlement in the 1870s. In 1871, Eugene and Mary Rourke homesteaded 40 acres on the banks of the Purgatoire River; so began Rourke Ranch. The cattle and horse ranch grew through three generations of Rourkes to over 50,000 acres before being sold out of the family 100 years later in 1971. In its day, Rourke Ranch was one of the most successful ranches in Colorado. The quality workmanship and architecture of its adobe buildings can still be seen and has earned Rourke Ranch a place on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, Rourke Ranch is preserved by the Comanche National Grassland as a testament to the hardy pioneers that helped settle the west and is well worth the time to visit.

A first time visitor to the Comanche National Grassland is usually surprised to find such a varied landscape from rolling short grass prairies to rugged canyons rimmed by pinion-juniper forests. It encompasses a fascinating landscape that reveals the history of the region in its exposed rock layers of prehistoric sea beds and ancient lakeshores riddled with dinosaur tracks. Cultural sites in the grasslands represent a diverse history spanning thousands of years. These vast expanses and hidden canyons were once the home to Native Americans who left their messages in the form of petroglyphs and pictographs on the cliff faces and rock overhangs throughout the region. Early traders passed through the area on the Santa Fe Trail, the canyons protect the rock walls of old stage stops from the days before the railroad, and ruins of early homesteads and ranches remain to remind us of life in another era.

In Spring 2018 HistoriCorpw crew will be heading to Rourke Ranch to preserve the ranch's stable and bunkhouse. Visit www.historicorps.org to find out how you can support this project. All HistoriCorps projects are FREE for volunteers!

Rourke Ranch National Historic Site, CO. Recreation.gov. Accessed February 14, 2018. https://www.recreation.gov/recreationalAreaDetails.do?contractCode=NRSO&facilityId=244733.

Rourke Ranch National Historic Site. United Stated Department of Agriculture. Accessed February 10, 2018. https://www.fs.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsinternet/cs/recarea?ss=110308&navtype=BROWSEBYSUBJECT&cid=FSE_003738&navid=110240000000000&pnavid=110000000000000&position=generalinfo&recid=12438&ttype=recarea&pname=Rourke%20Ranch%20National%20Historic%20Site.