Smokey Hill Trail
Denver-bound travelers could save distance and time on the Smokey Hill Trail but only if willing to risk death by Indian attack. The trail bisected the Cheyennes and Arapahos' treaty granted homeland, and the tribes kept it under siege almost continuously in the late 1860s. On branch earned notoriety as the "Starvation Trail" after an 1859 gold rush party met a disastrous end, but the Smokey Hill became a main highway in 1865 when the Butterfield Overland Dispatch began running stagecoaches over it. With fortified stage stops every few miles (including one right here), the route was reasonably well defended, but passengers never rested easy; the war cry might go up at any moment. Enough people took their chances, though, to keep the Smoky Hill Trail busy until the 1870 opening of the Kansas Pacific Railroad.
Rising to the Challenge
Women and Ranching
When not cooking, doing laundry, or milking the cows, Emily French could be found building furniture, climbing on roofs to install stovepipes, and branding cattle on her sister's homestead about ten miles southwest of here. Such "men's" chores often fell to women on nineteenth-century Colorado ranches, where the imperatives of work knew no gender; when duty called, women baled hay and mended fences with the best of them. Many also kept the family books and held the purse strings, as well as raising children, sewing clothing, and fulfilling other traditionally "female" roles. Visitors from back east often thought it scandalous to find women mounting their horses astride (instead of sidesaddle) and laboring alongside men. But in a frontier environment, it didn't matter who did the work only that it got done.
Civilian Conservation Corps
Kiowa's devastating May 1935 flood had one positive outcome: It brought the Civilian Conservation Corps to town. Among the most successful of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal programs, the CCC employed jobless young men in public works projects. A crew arrived a week after the flood to haul away debris; four months later, the corps established a permanent camp to address the disaster's chief cause; soil erosion. Using the Carnahan ranch (five miles south of here) as a proving ground, the CCC taught area landowners to use check dams, diversions ditches, and contour furrows to keep topsoil and groundwater in place. Kiowans embraced the techniques as well as the roughly two hundred CCCers, who spent much time and money in town. By the time the CCC camp closed in 1941, it had helped Kiowa wash away the flood's painful memory.
|Series||This marker is part of the Colorado: History Colorado series|
|Placed By||Colorado Historical Society|
|Marker Condition||No reports yet|
|Date Added||Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 at 11:20am PDT -07:00|
|UTM (WGS84 Datum)||13S E 545923 N 4355386|
|Decimal Degrees||39.34670000, -104.46705000|
|Degrees and Decimal Minutes||N 39° 20.802', W 104° 28.023'|
|Degrees, Minutes and Seconds||39° 20' 48.12" N, 104° 28' 1.38" W|
|Driving Directions||Google Maps|
|Closest Postal Address||At or near 237-299 Comanche St, Kiowa CO 80117, US|
|Alternative Maps||Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap|
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