20 Mile House
Legend has it that a one room cabin was built in 1864 by a man named Alfred Butters up in a grove of pines, just south of present-day Old Town Parker. He used the cabin in part as a sort of post office. It was not a post office as we know it today, but it was a place to post a letter or a notice to travelers, and to supply travelers with provisions. The place became known as the Pine Grove Post Office. Butters was a squatter on what was then known as part of the Lord Ranch. The Lord brothers were also squatters. After a short time, Butters traded the place to a Mr. Goldsmith for a yoke of oxen, and in turn, Goldsmith sold his rights to Mr. and Mrs. George Long. The Longs were fresh from a lumber camp east of this area, who had been forced out by Indian attacks. They moved the tiny structure about a mile north to where the Tallman Gulch and Cherokee Trail crossed. They began construction on what was to become the 20 Mile House (so named because it was 20 miles from Denver). It was a place to service the Smoky Hill and Cherokee trails as well as numerous freighters hauling wood into Denver.
The Longs built an addition to the Post Office structure to include ten rooms and a second story, as well as several outbuildings on the property. It became a prosperous place providing meals, lodging, and provisions to travelers and new settlers in the area. In 1869 the Longs, who were also squatters, traded their interest in the property to Nelson and Susan Doud for a span of mules. Court house records show that the Douds sold out to James S. Parker in September 1870, and the Douds moved on up the creek, purchasing the property known as the 17 Mile House. Before consummating the sale to Parker, Nelson Doud first took out a Homestead application on August 9, 1869, and on August 29th he purchased the property outright at $2.50 per acre, for a total of $200.
On December 8th, 1870 the U. S. Government established the official Pine Grove Post Office with James S. Parker as Postmaster. James continued to run the 20 Mile House facility, adding groceries and other supplies, as well as a farm machinery franchise. He also established a blacksmith shop with the only facility in the whole area able to shoe oxen. He was Postmaster in Parker for 27 years, finally selling out to Neil Duncan in 1910 and retiring to Denver. He died in that same year and is buried in the Parker Cemetery.
The 20 Mile House building was partially torn down in 1946 by the owner Charles O´Brien, leaving only the old Post Office portion. A new two story cinderblock house was built.
The old 20 Mile House property continued to be a working farm until the mid 1990s, when the property was acquired by developers. Eventually the cinderblock portion of the building was torn down and the small plot of land that the 20 Mile House structure was built on was donated to the Town of Parker. With the help of the Parker Area Historical Society, the original Pine Grove Post Office portion was restored and surrounded by a small pocket park. Pictured here is a view of the Southern exposure of that building.