A granary on the Knoblauch Ranch, shown in 2016.  This wood building with a corrugated tin roof was built prior to 1930.

Centennial Farms & Ranches

Knoblauch Ranch

Rio Grande County

In 1869 Rudolph Knoblauch immigrated to San Francisco after he spent twenty years as a chef on a ship. He left San Francisco for Denver in 1881 where he bought 160 acres where the present day Civic Center stands. There he bought a cafe where he met his wife, Katherine Rausch. The two married and moved to Del Norte where they eventually bought 160 acres west of town and bought another cafe.

An historic photo showing three people standing outside the Knoblauch Ranch original homestead in the snow, in the early 1900s

Knoblauch Ranch original homestead in the snow, in the early 1900s.

Photo courtesy of the Knoblauch Ranch.

By 1900 Rudolph Sr. had acquired over 700 acres. As the years went by Rudolph Sr. would sell different portions of the land to his children. Rudolph Jr. eventually married Ina Bell Wills on Aug. 17 1922. Their son Melvin Rudolph Knoblauch was born a year later. Unfortunately, Rudolph Jr. died of a heart attack leaving Ina a widow with a 3 year old son. Ina then went to work in town and leased the farm for a few years. In 1930, Ina married Carroll Wetherill who took care of the ranch. The family then acquired horses and cattle from older relatives to add to the ranch. As Melvin got older, he would begin to take care of the ranch.

Melvin married Irene Marguerites on July 12, 1943 and on May, 2nd 1944 Marcia Joan Knoblauch was born. Melvin served a couple years in the Army Air Corp during World War II before returning home to run the ranch. Melvin Curtis Knoblauch was born on September 30, 1949. Curtis married Jennifer Ann Larson in 1969, and after finishing college, the two moved back to the ranch to take over farming with Melvin. The ranch would eventually become a dairy operation. Today the ranch has milk cows and goats, and the family produces cheese and gives tours of the dairy farm.

Members of the Knoblauch family with their Centennial Farm sign.
A 1949 photo showing a group of men and women in front of the log house, built in 1944.
Front view of the 1944 Knoblauch Ranch log house, 2016.
A girl and a horse standing next to some steps, 1954.
A boy and dog in a 1960 photo of the Knoblauch Ranch.  The horse barn, granary and milk cow barn are in the background.
The old milk barn, a pre-1930 wood building, shown here in 2016.
Goats outside the old calving barn, 2016.
Two children play near the potato cellar, 1955.
Two horses stand outside the 1914 stucco house on the ranch in 1960.
Yellow-painted 1914 stucco house in 2016.
Sheep inside the log-built horse barn, 1990.
2016 photo of the Knoblauch Ranch pre-1930, wood frame hired man house.
A 1990 view across the Knoblauch Ranch, showing the mountains in the background and a horse barn in the foreground.