Weld County Irrigation / Ault Country

Weld County Irrigation / Ault Country (HM29E5)

Location: Ault, CO 80610 Weld County
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Country: United States of America
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N 40° 35.017', W 104° 43.896'

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Weld County Irrigation


Here is a land where life is written in water.
- Thomas Hornsby Ferril


Hard-pressed to turn crusty sod into fertile soil, northern Colorado's earliest farmers devised an ingenious solution: they built "more rivers." Beginning in 1870, settlers in the Poudre and Platte valleys dug hundreds of miles of canals, transforming a slice of the Great American Desert into an agrarian stronghold. Farming now rivaled mining as Colorado's primary industry; the state's cultivated acreage increased thirty-fold between 1870 and 1920, and agriculture's share of the economy more than doubled. The irrigation methods developed here gave Colorado—and the Great Plains as a whole—a foundation for permanent settlement. Long after most of the mines had been abandoned, the canals remained in use, the backbone of a vast farming civilization. Weld County is among the nation's most heavily irrigated counties.

One man alone cannot build an irrigation canal many miles in length and so redeem broad prairie land from the curse of sterility. It takes combined energy, skill, and capital to construct them.
- William Pabor


After carving a tiny irrigation ditch by himself, Benjamin Eaton (a future Colorado



governor) saw the need for settlers to pool their resources. An individual might be able to water a few acres, but groups of people working together could irrigate whole counties. In 1870 the Union Colony created the first canal cooperative (or "joint-stock company"), which guaranteed each shareholder a certain amount of water per year in exchange for construction and maintenance fees. More than a dozen similar facilities opened in northern Colorado during the 1880s, including Eaton's colossal Larimer and Weld Canal, which created well over 60,000 acres of new farm land. The rugged individualist may be a western icon, but it took collective effort to make Colorado into a farming state.

Ault Country

{Area map of historical & geographical highlights}
Details
HM NumberHM29E5
Tags
Year Placed1997
Placed ByThe Colorado Historical Society, Colorado Department of Transportation
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, July 16th, 2018 at 1:02pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)13T E 522714 N 4492570
Decimal Degrees40.58361667, -104.73160000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 40° 35.017', W 104° 43.896'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds40° 35' 1.0200000000002" N, 104° 43' 53.76" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)970
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling North
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 241 2nd St, Ault CO 80610, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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