Dorsey Mansion Ranch

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The Dorsey Mansion at Chico Springs, is just off the Santa Fe Trail in Colfax County. It is a magnificent log and masonry Victorian mansion built by Senator Stephen W. Dorsey.

Construction on the rambling 2-story log house began in 1878, with completion in 1880. In about 1884, he began to remodel his home, adding the stone castle structure that included faces of his wife Helen Dorsey, his brother John and himself carved in stone on the castle tower. (Along with a few gargoyles.) Among a few of the amenities of this magnificent house, is an art gallery, billiard room, library, 9 bedrooms, a 60 guest dining room, servant quarters and the first indoor bathroom. (Prior to that, he had a spacious 8 hole outhouse behind the mansion.) But, not to be outdone, the grounds boast an 1800’s swimming pool, with 3 islands and a gazebo!

Mustered out of Civil War service in 1867, Stephen Wallace Dorsey went west. First to Arkansas where he got involved in a railroad scheme and ended up as a “carpetbag” U.S. Senator. Then to New Mexico, where he eventually built a lavish Victorian mansion for himself on a vast and fraud-ridden land grant. Cattle baron, industrial and mining speculator, dabbler in politics, wheeler-dealer, and the respondent of countless lawsuits. He entertained splendidly at his sprawling log and masonry home at Mountain Springs, Colfax County, New Mexico. Whether defending himself in the celebrated Mail Route fraud and conspiracy trials in Washington, or manipulating cattle counts on his New Mexico spread, Stephen W. Dorsey was utterly irrepressible. The ex-Senator had even tried his hand at founding a town—and named it Clayton, for his son. With the railroad from Fort Worth to Denver nearing completion, Clayton, New Mexico was soon to become a major shipping point. However, Dorsey realized very little, if any, profit from this venture either, and in October of 1892, the Dorseys were nearly destitute.