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

Arkansas River Valley

Arkansas River Valley Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, July 7, 2020
1. Arkansas River Valley Marker
Inscription.  Florence Oil Field
Alexander Cassidy dug a twenty-three-foot-deep oil well near here in 1862, making this Colorado's first oil-producing region. Cassidy and others spent nearly two decades plumbing the hollows and seeps, sure that a major source lurked somewhere nearby. It did — more than 1,000 feet down. Drillers reached it in 1881, and within a decade nearly 400 producing wells dotted the hills around this area. Output peaked in 1892 at over 824,000 barrels, making the field an important part of Colorado's economy. Though production has declined over the years, the wells maintain a slow but steady flow. Well 42, tapped in 1882, still brings forth a trickle — the nation's longest continuously producing oil well.

Natural resources
The Arkansas Valley boasted one of Colorado's finest orchards, planted near here in 1859. The future, however, lay in manufacturing plants, not fruit-bearing ones. Coal, iron, calcite, silica, limestone, gypsum, gold, and other treasures streaking the surrounding hills, and all came by freight to Cañon City and Florence, whose downstream locations and good rail access made
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them natural refining and distribution hubs. Though gold production declined in 1912, the cities' smelters and mills stayed busy cranking out steel rails from the 1890s through World War II. Today, rivaling these industries is yet another resource — the Arkansas River itself. Since the Great Depression the Arkansas has enticed recreationists in such numbers that into the twenty-first century it may rightly claim to be the world's busiest whitewater rafting locale.
Erected by Colorado Department of Transportation; Colorado Historical Society.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: EnvironmentIndustry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1862.
Location. 38° 26.193′ N, 105° 6.576′ W. Marker has been reported damaged. Marker is near Penrose, Colorado, in Fremont County. Marker is on U.S. 50, 0.2 miles east of Phantom Canyon Road, on the right when traveling west. Marker is on pullout across from Fremont County Airport. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Penrose CO 81240, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this location, measured as the crow flies. Corrections Capital (here, next to this marker); Arkansas Valley Country (here, next to this marker); The Royal Gorge (here, next to this marker); "The Green Dragon" (approx. 0.4 miles away); Lt. Zebulon Pike's Southwestern Expedition
Arkansas River Valley Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, July 7, 2020
2. Arkansas River Valley Marker
Subject marker is on the left.
(approx. 3.1 miles away); Cramer School (approx. 3.1 miles away); James A. McCandless House (approx. 3.2 miles away); Early Agriculture & Ranching (approx. 3.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Penrose.
More about this marker. Rattlesnake activity in the area.
<i>Arkansas Valley near Florence oil wells</i> image. Click for full size.
Photo courtesy of the Denver Public Library, circa 1900
3. Arkansas Valley near Florence oil wells
"The view of the Arkansas Valley, near Florence (Fremont County), Colorado, includes residences, a man on horseback, oil derricks, the Denver and Rio Grande Western railroad, and open rangeland."
Credits. This page was last revised on July 20, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 17, 2020, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 148 times since then and 23 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 17, 2020, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.   3. submitted on July 20, 2020. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.

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Jun. 3, 2023