The Fords moved to Colorado, purchased land on Blake Street in Denver and built a small building there only to have it destroyed by fire the following year. He rebuilt the current brick building in which was located a restaurant, bar, barber shop and hair salon. From this initial business venture, Ford expanded his commercial holdings steadily. By 1854, Ford was generating the 14th highest income in the state of Colorado, the result of his numerous income-producing properties, including hotels in Denver and Cheyenne, Wyoming. Ford played a significant role in the admission of Colorado to the Union as a free state. A member of the Republican party, Ford was the first African American to be nominated to the Territorial Legislature. In 1865, Ford successfully lobbied the Federal government for black voting rights in Colorado, enlisting the support of Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts.
The Barney L. Ford Building is located at 1514 Blake St. in Denver, CO. It is privately owned and not open to the public.