The Virtual Petrified Wood Museum.  Dedicated to the Exhibition and Educational Study of Permineralized Plant Material
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Cenozoic Era: 65.5 Million Years to Present
Paleocene Epoch: 65.5-55.8 Million Years Ago Colorado

Cherokee Ranch and Castle
Mary Klass at Cherokee Ranch Fossil Forest


Read the following articles to learn about the mineralogy and taxonomic affinities of fossil wood at the Cherokee Ranch Fossil Forest in Douglas County, Colorado.

Mineralogy of Paleocene Petrified Wood from Cherokee Ranch Fossil Forest, Central Colorado, USA.

Late Paleocene woods from Cherokee Ranch, Colorado, U.S.A.

Cherokee Castle, situated near Sedalia, Colorado, is the center piece of Cherokee Ranch and Castle. The walls of Cherokee Castle, originally named Charlford, are constructed from locally collected rock, including petrified wood. The residence was designed and built over a period of two years from 1924 to 1926 by the architect Burnham F. Hoyt of Denver. Carl Alfred Johnson and Alice Conyngham Gifford Johnson named the castle Charlford after their two sons Charles and Gifford. Research inspired by a 1935 press photograph of Alice Conyngham Gifford Johnson, sponsor of USS Conyngham DD 371, provides new insights into her ties to the revolutionary war hero Captain Gustavus Conyngham. Read the following articles to learn more.

What's Behind a Photo: The Lady of a Castle and Her Unexpected Ties to American Naval History.

The Last Will and Testament of Captain Gustavus Conyngham.

Cherokee Castle

Charlford Castle Known today as Cherokee Castle

Cherokee Ranch and Castle Foundation
Cherokee Castle Petrified Wood Arch over Doorway

Cherokee Castle Petrified Wood
Petrified Wood Incorporated into Cherokee Castle Wall

Cherokee Castle Tower
Cherokee Castle Tower


Cherokee Castle walls and arches are primarily made of Castle Rock Rhyolite, a dimensional stone made from the Wall Mountain Tuff. Local sandstone and pebble conglomerate rocks were also used in the castle construction. Look closely and you will see an occassional piece of petrified wood used as construction material.

Cherokee Caslte Gargoyle
Cherokee Castle Gargoyle Rainspout


Cherokee Castle gargoyle rainspout with copper fittings.

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