This place came to be known to freighters and stagecoach drivers as Pullman’s Switch, serving as a place where one could switch teams from one weary set of animals to a fresh set with additional animals before making the long climb into the mountains. A barn for horses was built just across South Golden Road from this building, which stood until at least 1938. The Pullman House served several prominent stage lines including the Western Stage Company, Nye Forwarding Company and Wells, Fargo & Company. After gold fever died out due to the onslaught of the Civil War Depression, Pullman spent all of his time at this cabin, perfecting more plans and a model for his sleeper cars before returning to the east. After his run in Colorado, Pullman returned to Illinois in 1864, and with the $20,000 he raised in Colorado from his enterprises including the Cold Spring Ranch he commenced building his famed sleeper railroad cars. Less than 10 years after his departure, the famous Pullman Palace railroad cars rolled into Golden among the first railroad equipment used by the Colorado Central Railroad.
In time Pullman and his associates sold off the ranch after a successful five-year run. Although his tenure was brief, Pullman remade the Cold Spring Ranch into the famous institution history records, encompassing an acreage bounded on the east by what is now Indiana Street, on the west by Ulysses Street, on the north by North Table Mountain and on the south by West 4th Avenue. After returning to Illinois Pullman became rich and internationally famous selling his railroad cars and his company was among the most prominent in American history. However, Pullman always continued to hold a fondness in his heart for the time he spent in Colorado, and he collected all the literature he could on Colorado of the early 1860s. Often he visited Colorado with his family, and on April 16, 1894 even brought Robert Todd Lincoln, the president’s son, to Golden.
In 1868, William (Billy) Martin, who ran the Railroad House hotel in downtown Golden near what would be 11th and Ford streets, leased the property and continued to run the Cold Spring Ranch as an important area institution. He added an addition with second story of several rooms to the building, at which time it was also revealed part of it could be used as a dance hall. This addition was to the side and above the original building, requiring the dismantling of its roof and chimney to do so. Martin also built a nearby race track on South Golden Road where area residents raced horses. Jonas Morrison Johnson Sr., a prominent and prosperous Golden citizen, was the man who purchased the Cold Spring Ranch from the Pullman interests and continued its story of success from there. Johnson was no stranger to running a lodging establishment, having run the Johnson House hotel in Golden since 1859. He also served as Jefferson County Sheriff, a post later occupied by his son.