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Ault in Weld County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

Weld County Irrigation / Ault Country

 
 
Weld County Irrigation Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, June 30, 2018
1. Weld County Irrigation Marker
Inscription.  
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.
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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}

 
Erected 1997 by the Colorado Historical Society, Colorado Department of Transportation.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ArchitectureWaterways & Vessels. A significant historical year for this entry is 1870.
 
Location. 40° 35.017′ N, 104° 43.896′ W. Marker is in Ault, Colorado
Ault Country Marker (rear) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, June 30, 2018
2. Ault Country Marker (rear)
, in Weld County. Marker is at the intersection of CanAm Highway (U.S. 85) and 2nd Street, on the right when traveling north on CanAm Highway. Located in the Memorial Wayside Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: CanAm Highway, Ault CO 80610, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 12 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Pvt Joe P. Martinez (approx. ¼ mile away); Pierce, Colorado (approx. 3.8 miles away); Benjamin Harrison Eaton (approx. 4.2 miles away); The Denver Pacific Railway (approx. 9.1 miles away); State Armory (approx. 11.1 miles away); Lincoln Park (approx. 11.2 miles away); The Pioneer Fountain (approx. 11.2 miles away); Masonic Temple (approx. 11.2 miles away).
 
Weld County Irrigation Marker at the Memorial Park. image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, June 30, 2018
3. Weld County Irrigation Marker at the Memorial Park.
View from marker at Highway 85 in Ault. image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, June 30, 2018
4. View from marker at Highway 85 in Ault.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 16, 2018. It was originally submitted on July 16, 2018, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 261 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on July 16, 2018, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.

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Apr. 17, 2024