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Sat, 08.20.1910

Dearfield, Colorado is Founded

*On this date in 1910, Dearfield, Colorado was founded. 

Dearfield is presently a ghost town and a former historically black majority settlement in Weld County, Colorado.  James Smith and J.M. Thomas of Denver planted 100 acres of winter wheat that day after arriving through the Great Migration.  It is 30 miles east of Greeley and an hour and a half from Denver, Colorado.  

The town was formed by O.T. Jackson who desired to create a colony for blacks.  Jackson, a successful businessman from Boulder, filed on the homestead that would later become 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. 

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 USD. 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. Founder O.T. 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 at US 85-mile marker 264 near Evans, Colorado includes a panel with the history of Dearfield, CO. 


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