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Dearfield, CO: A Trip to the Past

Switch up your Summer Plans with a Trip to Historic Dearfield

Article by Sydney Breakfield

Photography by Shel Francis Creative

Originally published in Greeley Lifestyle

Dearfield, Colorado is a historic African-American settlement town located 30 miles outside of Greeley. It was founded in 1910 by Oliver Toussaint Jackson, who envisioned it as a prosperous farming community for African-Americans. Although it would take the homesteaders almost ten years before they experienced their first successful crop harvest, Dearfield experienced a significant agricultural boom. The town itself expanded, seeing an increase in businesses and the establishment of trades.

At its peak in the 1920s, Dearfield had around 300 residents and was a thriving agricultural community, producing crops such as wheat, corn, and sugar beets. However, the town was hit hard by the Great Depression and a severe drought in the 1930s, which led to the decline of the community. By 1940, only 12 people remained in Dearfield.

Visitors to Dearfield can explore an important part of Colorado's history. While walking through the town, visitors can visit the three remaining sites: a gas station, a diner and Oliver Toussaint Jackson's home. It wasn't until 1995, that the National Register of Historic Places listed the settlement as a historic landmark. When you visit Dearfield, be sure to read the monument plaque outside the diner. Not only does the plaque note that Dearfield is a preserved site, but visitors can also read the town's history firsthand, which adds even more significance to the site.

While taking a trip to a historic site may not be at the top of the to-do list for summer, visiting historical sites is an important way to learn about and understand our shared past. By experiencing these places firsthand, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the struggles and triumphs of those who came before us. By preserving and promoting these sites, we can help to ensure that they continue to inspire and educate people for years to come.

Although there are no tours at Dearfield, visitors interested in learning more about the historical significance of the settlement can visit The Black American West Museum and Heritage Center in Denver and The Greeley History Museum.

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