George S. (George Samuel) Clason.

Free homestead lands of Colorado described; a handbook for settlers online

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Online LibraryGeorge S. (George Samuel) ClasonFree homestead lands of Colorado described; a handbook for settlers → online text (page 2 of 39)
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by ranges of mountains, there is a great variety of soils. The
climate, also, is modified by many local conditions, thus ottering
splendid opportunities for the specialist to choose the kind of
climate and locality best suited for. what he desires to raise.
Soil conditions can be found suitable for any crops that will
grow at this latitude and climate. Already this fact has l>een
taken advantage of. The town of Loveland ships more red rasp-
berries than any other shipping point in the United States. At
Longmont are pea canning factories producing a quality of
canned peas superior to those canned anywhere else, and rapidly
supplanting all imported goods in this line. Greeley and Car-
bondale potatoes are well knoAvn almost everywhere, as are the
cantaloupes of the Arkansas valley. In Ivoutt county are pro-
duced strawberries of especially large size and fine quality: they
come on the market after all the other strawberries are off, and
command better prices for that reason. The peaches and pears
in the Grand valley, and the apples of Canon City, are well
known for their quality.

On the side hills in the mountains, in the valleys, and in
many other unexpected places, there are opportunities waiting
for the specialist who Avill take the trouble to look for them and
properly study the local conditions.


While the farmers and stockmen haA'e a ready market for
everything they produce, this is not true of those who raise fruit
and berries. Colorado's orchards are very productive, and fruit.
groAvers have made a good deal of money in this State, especially
so Avhen they are fortunate enough to haA-e large crops Avhen other


sections of the country have failures. The fruit industry at the
present time is badly in need of local canning factories that will
use the surplus production. Not only in the canning of fruits,
but also in the canning of tomatoes, vegetables and berries, and
in the drying of fruits, is there an excellent field. Colonies can
establish co-operative canning plants to good advantage. This
State is a large importer of canned goods from other states, for
our own consumption. Colorado people are generally loyal to
Colorado's productions, and will encourage those who produce
and market home-grown goods.


Colorado's dry climate is especially suitable for poultry
raising. Fowls are free from the diseases so fatal in other sec-
tions. The open winters permit their being outdoors nearly
every day in the air and for this reason giving larger returns in
the form of eggs than can be obtained in other climates.

The silo is destined to make radical changes in the poultry
industry. Poultry is very fond of ensilage or preserved fodder
from the silo and it provides them with fresh green food all
winter at a nominal cost compared with grain feeding.


Hog raising in Colorado is a very profitable line of farming.
Hogs can be raised in this State, owing to the almost perfect
conditions, at a less cost per pound than in almost any other
hog raising State.

The local demand is for 100,000 hogs each month, and there
is never enough to supply it.

Hog diseases, especially cholera, are practically unknown
here on account of the dry climate, cool nights and short winters.

Field peas are raised in this State on which to feed hogs.
They are sown, harrowed and allowed to grow like grain crops.
The hogs then are turned into the field where they eat both the
vines and the peas. They relish this feed and fatten quickly
upon it, and the meat has an excellency of flavor that brings a
fancy price and cannot be equaled by any other method of


This whole State not lone: ago was one great range, taken
advantage of by sheep and livestock interests. All of this is
changing now. In the more thickly settled districts it is neces-
sary for settlers to confine their stock to such as they can feed
on their own land. Those who settle in the mountainous districts
have better opportunities for going into the stock business on a


larger scale, as there is a large percentage of mountain area that
will never be suitable for cultivation and will always be open
stock range. This is especially true of the national forests, where
stock can be grazed under government supervision at a nominal
grazing fee.


Colorado first attracted attention many years ago by the dis-
covery of gold in our mountains. Not only do the mountains of
Colorado contain gold, bnt they contain silver, lead, copper, tung-
sten, uranium, vanadium, radium and many other precious and
semi-precious metals.

Colorado is the location of many mines that have produced
individually millions of dollars. There are still hundreds of
thousands of acres of mining land unclaimed and almost unpros-
pected in the mountains. If, as the old proverb says, "There
are as good fish in the sea as ever were caught," then there are
still golden rewards for the prospectors who will find new gold
and silver mines here.

The mining industry is a very large enterprise, employing
many thousands of workmen, who are the consumers of what the
farmers produce.

Coal mining is an important industry. There is a vast area
underlaid with large coal veins already being mined on such a
large scale that nearly the entire Missouri valley is supplied with
coal from Colorado's mines.

Colorado has two producing oil fields with indications that
we have more that will be developed.

The mining industry is a permanent, profitable industry
that will grow larger and more important every year.


Manufacturing in Colorado is still in its infancy. Colorado
has all the natural resources necessary to build up an important
manufacturing center. An abundance of cheap power can be de-
veloped from the mountain streams of this State.

The manufacturing industry at present amounts to $200.-
000,000 per year. It is steadily growing.


Positively no article on this State would be complete with-
out refering to the scenic attractions. Colorado is spoken of as
the Switzerland of America, yet Switzerland, if moved bodily
into the center of Colorado's mountains would be lost sight of,
as we have ten times the mountainous area of Switzerland. Our
mountain peaks are higher. We have deeper chasms and gulches.
In this State the Kocky mountains reach their greatest height.


Colorado has a larger area above an elevation of 10,000 feet
than all of the other portions of the United States combined.

In these mountain districts are our summer playgrounds.
They will be the joy of future generations, national camping
grounds and fishing districts. Already the mountains are
traversed by fine graded roads. Colorado spends a million dollars
each year on good roads. Her scenic attractions are one of her
valuable assets, not only because they attract tourists, but because
of the pleasure they give to the citizens of this State.


Colorado has a temperate climate. Look on the map. It
is at just the right point of latitude north of the equator for an
equable, temperate climate. Summer and winter are evenly di-
vided. Neither extreme heat or extreme cold will be experienced
here. Colorado is a State with wonderful developments and pos-
sibilities ahead of it. It has every advantage of climate, fertility
of the soil, scenery, healthfulness and natural resources, that can
be claimed by any of the states. Colorado is a good place to
live in.


Colorado is well equipped with schools in the cities, towns
and rural communities. Our school laws are very broad, and
no child in the State need go without an education.

There are numerous institutions for higher education, among
which the most prominent are :

Colorado College, at Colorado Springs.

Colorado State University, at Boulder

Denver University, at Denver.

Colorado State Agricultural College, at Fort Collins.

Colorado State School of Mines, at Golden.
Colorado is well supplied with churches, and in the farming
communities where there are no church buildings, services are
commonly held in the school houses.


A large part of the mountainous area of Colorado is com-
prised in the 13,402,481 acres which have been withdrawn from
entry and included in a system of National Forests, being admin-
istered by the United States forestry service.

The original idea in making these withdrawals was to con-
serve and preserve the natural timber which had been wantonly
wasted heretofore and to plant young trees around the head-
waters of the streams and thus protect the source of our waters
that are used for irrigation purposes.

A considerable area within the forests are better suited for
agricultural purposes than for forestry purposes. Congress has


made provisions for classifying these lands and making them
available to settlers. At the present time, the service is classify-
ing them and designating those suitable for homesteaders.

As the areas are not large and the tracts are more or less
scattered, no attempt has been made to describe them in this
book. Application should be made to the head ranger of each
forest for the location of such tracts.

Settlers on or near the national forests can secure, free of
charge, such timber and lumber as they need for the construction
of buildings and fences.

Settlers may also graze cattle and sheep upon the national
forests by paying a very nominal tax per head per annum for
the privilege; and they are allowed to graze a certain number of
head free.

Complete information about the regulations and the admin-
istration of the United States forests can be secured free of
charge by writing the department of forestry at Washington, D.
C.. and requesting a copy of the "Use Book."


The United States land office has divided Colorado into ten
land districts. Each district being named after the town in
which the land office is located. The following list gives a gen-
eral description of the characteristics of each land district. On
the accompanying map will be found the total amount of vacant
land in each district, and that portion of each county included in
the districts.

A series of sectionalized maps of the various land districts
is published by The Clason Map Company, showing the exact
area and location of the vacant lands. Price, $1.00 for each


United States Land Office Located at Del Norte.

This district is located in the south-central portion of
Colorado, and extends to the southern boundary of the State. It
is bounded on the west by the Great Continental divide, and on
the east by the Sangre de Cristo range of mountains. In the
center of the district is located the great San Luis valley, flat
and level, surrounded on all sides by rolling foothills, bench
lands, and by high mountain ranges and peaks.

The valley proper is well settled and largely under irriga-
tion. Outside of the valley there is very little settlement. The
bench lands and foothill lands have been overlooked almost en-
tirely, although there is good soil and in many places there is
water available for irrigating small areas if caught in storage

Through the mountains there are also fine little valleys and
parks that would make attractive homes. The mountains are
mostly timbered and drained by clear trout streams, a delight to
the fisherman.

The San Luis valley proper lies at an elevation of about
8,000 feet. This is considered quite high for farming, yet so
well protected is this district and so well watered and naturally
supplied with such a fertile soil, that it is one of the garden
spots of the State. The production per acre of potatoes and
wheat in this valley is record-breaking.


United States Land Office Located at Denver.

The Denver land district lies in the north-central portion
of the State. It is bounded on the north by the State line.
This is a very large district. The eastern half of it lies in the


plains and includes the famous Greeley agricultural district, the
Poudre valley of Larimer county and the valley of the South
Platte river. The western portion is broken by high mountain
ranges, with successions of large valleys and parks which are
very fertile and attractive to the eye.

While this land office includes Denver, it is just as well to
state that there are no good agricultural lands open for settle-
ment in the immediate vicinity of Denver. There are some vacant
lands near the city, but these are rocky and worthless.

In the Denver district, however, there are large areas open,
suitable for homestead entry; some places where good size
colonies could find plenty of adjoining land.

This district has good railroad facilities and plenty of
water. In the mountainous districts there is much timber.

United States Land Office Located at Durango.

The Durango district lies on the southern slope of the San
Juan mountains. This is a well watered and very fertile dis-
trict. The San Juan mountains are frequently compared with
the mountains of Switzerland, being a very high, rugged range.
Located here are very productive gold and silver mines.

The southern portion of the district has extensive deposits
of coal and there is a great deal of natural timber in this section.

The agricultural lands of this district produce fruits, vege-
tables, grains, potatoes, etc.

This district is a very sparsely settled section, offering many
good opportunities for homeseekers.


United States Land Office Located at Glenwood Springs.

The Glenwood Springs district is one of the most sparsely
settled districts in the State. It is quite a large district, being
one and a half times as large as the kingdom of Belgium. It is
a well watered district and quite fertile and destined to become
an important farming section.

There is plenty of timber here and wild game. There are
numerous deposits of coal and some gold and copper.

Lack of railroad facilities has held the development of this

eirt of Colorado back for many years. The construction of the
enver-Salt Lake railroad, now completed as far as Craig, will
put a transcontinental railroad line right through the heart of
the Glenwood Springs district.

This is a land of rolling hills, mesas and valleys. The
soil is generally of good quality. This is, naturally, a good farm-
ing section and there is any quantity of high class land vacant
and awaiting the settler.


United States Land Office Located at Hugo.

The Hugo district lies entirely in the plains section. Until
just a few years ago this district was considered only a stock
raising country, but is now the land of the prosperous farms
and farmers.

There is less vacant land in the Hugo district than in any
other district in the State. Most of this is located in Cheyenne

United States Land Office Located at Lamar.

The Lamar land district is located in the extreme south-
eastern corner of the State of Colorado and is situated princi-
pally in the plains. The valley of the Arkansas river crosses it
centrally. The southwestern corner is what is known as the
Cedar Hills country, a rather rolling, broken section, portions of
which are covered with a heavy growth of scrub cedars.

Many settlers have turned their attention to Baca county re-
cently, where they have found large areas of high-class farm
lands in the artesian water belt. There is much good vacant
land still left in nearly every part of this district.

United States Land Office Located at Leadville.

The Leadville district lies high up on the top of the Con-
tinental divide. It is crossed by a precipitous mountain range.

This is a mining and stock raising district. It is too high
in elevation for farming. There is a narrow valley along the
Arkansas river in Chaffee county, while in Park county there is
a large area of rolling park or prairie land suitable for grazing.
This is a good hay district and great quantities of native hay are
raised by irrigation.

United States Land Office Located at Montrose.

The Montrose district has a very large variety of lands and

The eastern boundary of the district is the crest of the Great
Continental divide. In the mountains are gold and silver mines.
In the foothills, coal mines, and still further down are fertile
irrigated valleys, mesas, prairies and bench lands.

The Montrose land district includes the famous Grand
Valley fruit belt, the Gunnison tunnel irrigation project of the
United States reclamation service and many small irrigation



Map of Colorado, Showing Location of the Ten La

JV^i^S E D G W I C K




CASTLE ROCrv w . -x

E> O U 3A A S \ E 1"* B E RT



ACREAGE 95,000




j i


ts and the Amount of Vacant Land in TCaeh


There are large areas of unappropriated lands in the Mont-
rose district, much of which is of excellent quality.


United States Land Office Located at Pueblo.

The Pueblo district extends from the crest of the Sangre
de Cristo range of mountains eastward 150 miles, and from the
top of the Arkansas divide on the north, south to the Colroado
state line.

Nearly all of the district lies on the great plains, tjie west-
ern portion being more hilly and partially mountainous. It in-
cludes the fertile valley of the Arkansas river and also a large
area of lands that could be cultivated without irrigation, but
which are unsettled and unused except by the stockmen.

The Pueblo district has good railroad facilities and a large
market for everything it can produce. Included in its area is
the famous Cripple Creek mining district and the extensive coal
mines of Southern Colorado.

The city of Pueblo is the second city in the State and is
the location of important steel works and other manufacturing

The amount of vacant land in this district is simply
enormous. Much of it is close to railroads and there is no ap-
parent reason why it should not be desirable.

United States Land Office Located at Sterling.

The Sterling Land district lies in the extreme northeast-
ern corner of the State of Colorado, adjoining Nebraska. It lies
entirely on the great plains.

The district is crossed diagonally by the fertile, irrigated
valley of the Platte river. The rest of the district is nearly all
rolling plains country, suitable for farming, and much of it is
already under cultivation.

The railroad facilities in this district are good. There is a
fair rainfall and very good soil. The largest area of vacant
lands in the district at the present time are located in Yuma
county, where the lands were withdrawn from entry several
years ago, pending resurvey. The survey of these lands is com-
pleted and they will be thrown open for entry during the spring
of 1915.


The resourcefulness of the average American citizen never
has a better opportunity to show itself than when he starts to
improve a homestead. It is interesting to notice the different
ideas brought forth in the way men locate their houses and out-
buildings in regard to natural conditions. One man will build
his home on the top of the highest piece of ground on his claim,
delighting in the view which it gives him in every direction and
defying the winds and the storms, for which it is a fine mark.
Another will choose a sheltered gully and build a cozy little place
surrounded with trees and covered with vines.

It is a simple life, but far from an easy life. One who
has not lived on a homestead cannot realize the things to be
done or the disadvantage under which most of them must be ac-
complished. To start out, the settler has fences to build, a home
to build, a barn, chicken houses and pig pens, and usually a well
to dig. All this, in addition to the problem of supporting a

Those who realize best the problems a settler must confront,
advise that he should have at least three milch cows ; one or more
sows and some chickens to start in with. With this livestock, as
well as a good team and wagon, he is assured of a good living
for his family and the ability to plow his land and take care of
his crops. The cows supply the necessary cream and milk for
the family and also provide more or less butter and cream to be
sold or traded at the store. Many a successful settler, however,
has made his start without most of these things. Oftentimes his
principal asset is a willing wife and a family of hungry chil-
dren. Rabbits, grouse and fish have helped out the larder at
many critical times.

Many are the occupations utilized by settlers to finance
themselves until their farms begin to pay. There is more or less
demand for extra farm labor in all farming districts in the State
and practically no supply of transcient labor. A man at all handy
and willing to help out his neighbors can find work to do, in dig-
ging wells, building silos, fences, tilling, etc. Most of the schools
in the new districts are being taught by men and women, who are
proving up on their homesteads, and earning a living as well
from the forty to sixty dollars per month they receive for teach-
ing during a few months in the year. The rural mail routes
often furnishes a profitable occupation for the homesteader with-
out interfering with his residence and cultivation of the land.
The country post-office with a little store attached, has been the


support of more than one who have successfully proved up and
become prosperous settlers.

One man took advantage of a part of the State most men
thought to be of no account. He located fifty miles from a railroad
in a district occupied by stockmen and absolutely without set-
tlers. His friends all laughed at him and said he would starve
to death ; but he had an idea and worked it. He put his land into
corn and sold all he could raise to the neighboring stockmen at
$1.00 per bushel on the ear and then it was cheaper than they
could buy it in town and haul it out.

It takes the foreigners to realize the possibilities of the dif-
ferent districts. An Irishman from the north of Ireland, took
up a little valley high up in the mountains at an elevation of
7,000 feet. The land, suitable for irrigation and cultivation, was
not over 100 feet in width by perhaps a quarter of a mile in
length. The rest of the claim was rolling, hilty country, suitable
only for pasture. During the short summer season he raised
rutabagas, turnips, carrots, peas and beans. A class of garden
truck that no one else raised in that district, except in little kitch-
en gardens. This he hauled by wagon thirty -five miles to the
nearest town and had no difficulty in selling his produce at good
prices in competition with the imported vegetables. He is rais-
ing a large family and now has several hundred head of cattle
and several thousands of acres of land.


A careful reading of the detailed descriptions of the town-
ships in this book will disclose that nearly everywhere "grazing"
is mentioned as being either fairly good or exceptionally good.
Xot in one out of ten districts will grazing be found to be poor.
Here is one of the natural resources of ninety per cent of the
vac-ant lands in Colorado that every settler can utilize.

The stock raising industry is one that few people outside
of the stockmen understand or realize the possibilities of. Ten
acres of average Colorado land will support one cow the year
round. On a 320-acre homestead, the settler can graze twenty-
five head of stock, and have sufficient land for a kitchen garden
and plenty to cultivate in fodder crops for the winter feeding.

Three milk cows will support a family ; one cow will pro-
vide all the milk, butter and cream that one ordinary family
requires; the butter, cream and cheese which the others will
produce will buy the family's groceries. It is estimated that one
cow will produce dairy products which can be marketed for $1*20

Online LibraryGeorge S. (George Samuel) ClasonFree homestead lands of Colorado described; a handbook for settlers → online text (page 2 of 39)