In 1936 the log house and barns were built by Chuck Kidder on 80 acres south of Horn Road. The property was used as a dairy farm. In 1947 the farm was sold to Glen Coffee. It is still referred to as the “Old Coffee Place” by many of the local people in the valley. In 1955 George and Luzetta Vickerman and Bill Vickerman purchased the property as an addition to their 2,000 plus acre hay and cattle ranch which now surround the Toe on three sides to the south, east and west. The Vickerman Ranch was later sold to Lee Calderwood and then to Declan Jackson. The ranch to the north is owned by the Reis family. Dave and Wayne Reis have been extremely helpful over the years.
On August 22, 1979, the Vickerman's sold 8.5 acres on which the house, barns, and out buildings are located to Dick and Marilyn Holliday of Colorado Springs. On their honeymoon while passing through a holler in Kentucky, they came to a road sign that read: Left Turkey Toe. Dick, an avid turkey hunter, decided then that if he ever owned a ranch, he would name it the “Turkey Toe Ranch.”
The house had stood vacant with a bad roof for approximately eight years. The grounds were overgrown with sagebrush, weeds, and covered with trash piles. In 1979 the roof was shingled. In 1980 the interior renovation was started. Barn wood from a collapsing work garage to the east of the house was used to cover the kitchen and some of the living room walls. A hot water heater and three baseboard heaters were installed. The collapsed ceilings in the porch, kitchen, and south bedrooms were replaced. The Toe was livable; barely. The pine trees in the front of the house were planted.
On July 30, 1980, the Holliday’s sold a one-half interest to Greg and Judy Gebben. A shower and new kitchen counter top were added in 1982 and the water pump was fixed about nine times. The shooting range and motorcycle track on the vacant land to the east were added. The “Dad’s Weekend” tradition was started in 1984. This group has pitched in on almost all of the major ranch projects. Their pictures are proudly posted on the kitchen wall. In 1985 a volleyball court was set up and the water pump system in the well house was rebuilt. The old milk barn was converted to a bunkhouse and named the “Ossie Osbourn Memorial Bunkhouse” in honor of Ossie’s rodent extermination techniques.
On May 20, 1987, the Gebbens purchased the remaining one-half interest from Dick and Marilynn. However, as the “Ranch Founder,” Dick and his family have lifetime use of the Toe. Before the ink on the deed was dry, the north wall of the basement collapsed due to ground water saturation and the house was condemned by the insurance company. Weeks were spent rebuilding the basement wall with railroad ties and installing gutters on the north side of the house. From this experience, the ranch motto: “Never Give A Inch” by Henry Stamper from the book Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey, was formally added to the stairway wall.
In 1988 the interior of the house was renovated. The old linoleum and “pizza” rugs were removed and the wood floors were refinished and new carpeting installed. The ceilings were retextured and the entire house was painted. A new woodstove and chimney system were added. The outhouse was rebuilt and the chicken coop was converted to the K. G. Weston Sweat Lodge. The stock tank, Lake Huron, was purchased, however, Lake Huron disappeared a few years later.
In 1989 the power lines and polls were removed and an under ground electrical system was installed, the southwest patio was built, and the kitchen cabinets and sink were replaced. The cycle track to the east was upgraded to a figured eight track and renamed the “Rolling Stone Driving Academy.” Many kids have learned to drive on the track with the Stones blaring into the night, but so far only one car has rolled over.
By 1991, after ten years of mowing, the main grounds were finally cleared of sagebrush and trash. The trash was moved to the old foundation to the east and the fences and gates were all repaired to their original state. On January 4, 1991, the mortgage on the “worst/best” investment the Gebben’s ever made was finally paid off.
Over the years the following additional improvements were made:
1992: Windmill built and raised on Day’s Weekend
1999: Cattle barn turned into a wood working, blacksmithing, and welding shop;
2000: Ossie Osbourn Memorial Bunker converted to an art studio and bunkhouse;
house re-shingled; Peter Sutherland Memorial Tree planted
2001: Gas log stove installed; 41 John Deere Model H “Popp’n Johnny” purchased
2002: Antique farm equipment purchased; west side hedge row planted
2003: Kitchen redone in “foo foo” yellow with wall paper; manly barn wood removed
2005: Gebben Forest planted and east porch added
2006: Peter Sutherland Memorial Flag Pole and Flag set up
2007: Limestone fence installed
2008: Sheep wagon and chuck wagon built; 41 Ford Model N tractor purchased;
Devon and Sarah married at the ranch, thereby preventing Judy from ever
selling the Toe in the event of Greg’s death
2009: Sheep wagon foundation and electric system installed
2016: Generation 2 Dads day starts and Devon takes over as the new guy of Turkey Toe
2019:Turkey Toe Links golf course started
2020: Loud Guitars bunk room enclosed and created from the back patio. First round played at the new Turkey Toe Links
2021: Pheasant Hutch restored and host first AOC Retreat.
2022: Loud Guitars showers, Pheasant Hutch Deck and outdoor living, RC Track, boneyard fence, additional storage truck.
We feel that the Turkey Toe is one of a kind because of the location in the unique Wet Mountain Valley, its Spirit of the Old West, the antiques, books, personal items, and loving care that has been put into the renovation. Restoring the ranch has been a labor of love involving many hours and people. The Turkey Toe is old and fragile. Please treat this old ranch with tender loving care during your visit and ask yourself what you can do to make it an even better place.
The mission statement for the Turkey Toe Ranch is: “A place to strengthen families and friendships, have as much fun as possible, and maintain the Spirit of the Old West.” We hope you enjoy your stay and that you can come back again, if only in your mind. Thomas Wolf said: “You can’t go home again.” Greg Gebben said: “You can always go back to The Turkey Toe; it’s a magic place where you never have to grow up.”