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Dearfield, Colorado

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Title: Dearfield, Colorado  
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Dearfield, Colorado

Dearfield
Template:Designation/text
Building in Dearfield
Dearfield, Colorado
Location Weld County, Colorado
Nearest city Wiggins, Colorado
Coordinates

40°17′18″N 104°15′25″W / 40.28833°N 104.25694°W / 40.28833; -104.25694Coordinates: 40°17′18″N 104°15′25″W / 40.28833°N 104.25694°W / 40.28833; -104.25694

Area 160 acres (65 ha)
Built 1910
Architectural style False front
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 95001002[1]
Added to NRHP August 4, 1995

Dearfield is a ghost town and a historically black majority settlement in Weld County, Colorado, United States. It is 30 miles (48 km) east of Greeley. The town was formed by Oliver T. Jackson who desired to create a colony for African Americans. In 1910, Jackson, a successful businessman from Boulder, filed on the homestead that later became the town and began to advertise for "colonists." The name Dearfield was suggested by one of the town's citizens, Dr. J.H.P. Westbrook who was from Denver. The word dear was chosen as the foundation for the town's name due to the precious value of the land and community to the town's settlers.[2]

The first settlers of Dearfield had great difficulty farming the surrounding pasture and endured several harsh seasons. However, by 1921, 700 people lived in Dearfield. The town's net worth was appraised at $1,075,000. After several prosperous years, the Great Depression arrived and the town's agricultural success significantly declined. Settlers began to leave Dearfield in order to find better opportunities. By 1940, the town population had decreased to 12, only 2% of the town's 1921 population. Jackson desperately attempted to spur interest in the town, even offering it for sale. However, there was little interest in Dearfield. Jackson died on February 18, 1948.

A few deserted buildings remain in Dearfield: a gas station, a diner, and the founder's home. In 1998, Black American West Museum in Denver began to make attempts to preserve the town's site. It is a Colorado Registered Historic Landmark. A 2010 monument next to one of the remaining buildings contains information about the history of the site.

A 2001 state historical marker [3] at U.S. Route 85 mile marker 264 near Evans, Colorado, includes a panel with the history of Dearfield.

See also

References

External links

  • University of Northern Colorado Libraries: Dearfield
  • Dearfield Colony listing in Colorado Preservation's Endangered Places Program
  • Dearfield African-American Farming Colony page at Colorado State University's Architectural Preservation Institute
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