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Delta in Delta County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

Western Slope Agriculture / Delta County

 
 
Western Slope Agriculture Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, July 8, 2018
1. Western Slope Agriculture Marker
Inscription.  
Western Slope Agriculture

According to an 1888 U.S. Department of Agriculture report, western Colorado's thin soils, high altitude, and lack of rainfall rendered the region totally unfit for cultivation. The document’s author apparently failed to notice the fruit orchards already proliferating in the valleys of the Gunnison and Colorado Rivers. Here, warm days and cool nights ripened sweet produce to perfection, and the mining towns south and east provided ready markets. Between 1890 and 1902 Delta County fruit took first place honors at every state fair except one, adding gold medals at the 1893 and 1898 world's fairs. Ever since, Delta County has been a leading producer of Colorado apples, cherries, peaches, and pears.

Before the advent of rail service, Western Slope farmers had to hustle to get their harvests to market before the rot set in. But the 1882 arrival of the Denver & Rio Grande gave local planters easy access to Denver and Salt Lake City consumers, and the subsequent introduction of refrigerated railroad cars and warehouses placed both coasts within reach. Throughout the twentieth
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century local agriculture became increasingly mechanized, enabling farmers to raise larger crops, and Delta sprouted a phalanx of canneries, packing houses, and food processing plants, driving the demand for homegrown produce to new heights. Today western Colorado's farms, sugar beet fields, and fruit orchards nourish a thriving regional economy.

Photo captions
Top left: Wagons at the Delta beet dump, c. 1920
Bottom left: Tomato juice machine, Delta Canning Factory, 1939
Top right: Mexican sugar beet workers, Delta, Colorado, c. 1920
Bottom right: Delta County apple harvest, c. 1920


Delta County

Map of Delta County showing historical and geographical highlights

 
Erected 1998 by the Colorado State Historical Society.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: AgricultureIndustry & CommerceRailroads & Streetcars. In addition, it is included in the Colorado - History Colorado series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1888.
 
Location. 38° 44.953′ N, 108° 4.471′ W. Marker is in Delta, Colorado, in Delta County. Marker is on North Palmer Street, 0.1 miles north of Confluence Drive, on the right when traveling
Delta County Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, July 8, 2018
2. Delta County Marker
north. Located near the parking lot of the Fort Uncompahgre Interpretive Center. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 440 North Palmer Street, Delta CO 81416, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Fort Uncompahgre (within shouting distance of this marker); Ute Council Tree (approx. 0.4 miles away); Delta County Bank Building (approx. half a mile away); Central School Bell (approx. half a mile away); Delta Jail - 1890 (approx. half a mile away); Mangum Memorial Wind-Chime (approx. half a mile away); Robert E. Lee Steamboat Bell (approx. half a mile away); Leslie J. Savage Big Bell Collection (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Delta.
 
View of marker looking southerly towards intersection of Palmer Street & Confluence Drive. image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, July 8, 2018
3. View of marker looking southerly towards intersection of Palmer Street & Confluence Drive.
View from marker towards Fort Uncompahgre Interpretive Center & Fort. image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, July 8, 2018
4. View from marker towards Fort Uncompahgre Interpretive Center & Fort.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 25, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 14, 2018, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 239 times since then and 8 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on July 14, 2018, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.

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Feb. 28, 2024