“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Golden in Jefferson County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)

Irrigation and Farming

Irrigation and Farming Marker image. Click for full size.
By Charles T. Harrell, July 4, 2011
1. Irrigation and Farming Marker
Inscription. Clear Creek irrigation ditches provide water to farmers east of Golden. Many irrigation ditches were dug in the 1800s, making the Clear Creek valley the breadbasket of early Colorado. Golden’s first resident, David King Wall, introduced irrigation following his arrival from South Bend, Indiana on April 30, 1859. Wall had caught a different “gold fever” than everyone else at the time, bringing with him a wagonload of seed. With a farmer’s keen observance for soil quality he noted the richness of the land along Clear Creek.

Laying claim to a small acreage where Tucker Gulch enters Clear Creek, Wall plowed a furrow from the gulch and the water “oozed along the hillside,” thus establishing the first irrigation ditch. That year, Wall netted the then amazing sum of $2,000 for his garden produce, selling to miners hungry for something fresh. He also proved to the skeptics that agriculture could thrive in what had long been termed the “Great American Desert.”

Wall became known as the “Father of Agriculture in Colorado.” He and his brother, John C. Wall, sold the produce at their store on the northwest bank near this bridge. Of course, many farmers followed Wall’s example. By the late 1800s, irrigation farming had become well established and profitable.

Background photo: View southwest of Golden, of Ralston Creek irrigation ditch, circa 1890. Courtesy Denver Public Library, Western History Collection.
Caption: David King Wall, Courtesy Colorado Historical Society
Location. 39° 45.404′ N, 105° 13.355′ W. Marker is in Golden, Colorado, in Jefferson County. Marker is on Washington Avenue Bridge, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Golden CO 80401, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Golden City (here, next to this marker); Transportation (here, next to this marker); Gold (here, next to this marker); Golden and Clear Creek (here, next to this marker); Native Americans on Clear Creek (a few steps from this marker); The White Ash Mine Disaster (a few steps from this marker); Settler Farm Wife’s Initiative (a few steps from this marker); First Bicycle Mishap in Golden (a few steps from this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Golden.
Categories. Agriculture

Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 27, 2011, by Charles T. Harrell of Woodford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 603 times since then and 43 times this year. Photo   1. submitted on November 27, 2011, by Charles T. Harrell of Woodford, Virginia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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