Weekend festival celebrates restoration of Virginia Dale Overland Stage Station

Marcie Wells, an active and passionate member of the Virginia Dale Community Club, is excited to announce the restoration of the 155-year-old Virginia Dale Overland Stage Station.

The only remaining overland stage station still standing in its original location, it was built by the notorious Jack Slade and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It has been in continuous use by Virginia Dale ranching families, residents and friends ever since as a community center.

It now sports a new porch including flooring, new inside ceiling and rafters and a refurbished stove and stovepipe. Soon there will be a new roof. Bill Bailey, owner of Historic Applications in Lakewood, spent most of the winter doing the work and lived on the property part of that time. The restoration was made possible by an intensive five-year fundraising campaign that realized at least $100,000.

Wells said she expects 500 people to join in the 22nd annual Virginia Dale Community Club Open House and Western Festival on June 9 and 10 at the stage station. The event celebrates the historical significance of the place, the rural lifestyle and at the same time raises funds to ensure the continued maintenance of the stage station for generations to come. There is no admission fee but donations of work gloves or canned goods for Harvest Farm, a rehabilitation center north of Wellington, will be greatly appreciated according to Wells.

“In addition to people who live in the area, people who attend the festival include passersby, history buffs and club members who live as far away as Arizona. Some are members of families who have lived in the area for several generations,” Wells said.

Wells is a native of Boston who lives in the Owl Canyon area and says she is a history buff and Westerner at heart. She has been active in the Virginia Dale Community Club for many years and also hosts a weekly radio show on local station KRFC called the Northern Colorado Heritage Connection.

“Barely Getting’ By,” a popular local band will kick off the weekend celebration with a western dance from 7-11 p.m. on Friday, June 9 at the stage station. There will be an old-fashioned pie auction at intermission. Admission is $10 for adults, children under 12, free.

A craft show, bake sale and two speakers are on tap for Saturday, June 10, beginning at 9 a.m. A quilt to be raffled in December will be on display and tickets will be available. Tickets are also available by calling 970-495-1828.

Bruce Spear of Denver will impersonate Abraham Lincoln at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., and Ray Stokes of Sidney, Neb., will speak as a representative of the National Freight Wagon and Stage Coach Association. Inventions of the 1800s will be on display.

There will be games for all ages and lunch will be served between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. “Many of our vendors cannot process credit cards so we encourage checks or cash,” Wells said.

The stage station is 4 miles south of the Wyoming border about a mile off U.S. 287. Turn onto County Rd. 43 F just north of the old Virginia Dale Café at the memorial plaque installed by the Daughters of the American Revolution. Turn left at the first “Y” in the road and travel one mile on dirt road to the station. Limited handicap parking available.

See virginiadalecommunityclub.org or call Sylvia Garofalo, 970-495-1828 or Marcie Wells, 970-568-7646 for more information.