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Cañon City in Fremont County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

The Banana Belt of Colorado

 
 
The Banana Belt of Colorado Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, July 7, 2020
1. The Banana Belt of Colorado Marker
Inscription.  This region is called the "Banana Belt of Colorado” for a reason. The climate is milder here year round than most counties in the state. Good weather creates the best environment for farming and raising livestock to feed the local economy.

From early settlement in Fremont County, agriculture proved to be a vital industry to the local economy. Both farming and ranching provided a living for many local families. A few farms and ranches in the area are still managed by the same families who ran them for three to four generations.

Fremont County is known for its apples, but did you know that other crops like celery, strawberries, spinach, and cucumbers grew here, too? The crops grown here supplied fresh foods to the mining camps in Leadville and Fairplay.

Early settler Jesse Frazier planted apple trees in Fremont County as early as the 1860s. Other farmers soon followed and established apple orchards all over Cañon City and the county. At its peak in 1920, the apple industry in Fremont County reported having about 170,000 apple trees.

Lack of water in the region challenged the early local farmers. Local
The Banana Belt of Colorado Marker Detail image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, July 7, 2020
2. The Banana Belt of Colorado Marker Detail
businessman Dall DeWeese engineered a water reservoir and an irrigation ditch in 1895 to help solve the problem. By the early 1900s, canneries and even a pickle factory began operating in the area. Private citizens owned some of the canneries. The Colorado Packing Company, however, operated through the Colorado State Penitentiary.

The cattle industry also started in Fremont County in the 1860s and became a leading business in the area. In 1959, over $1.3 million was made by the sale of cattle in this county. Ranchers shipped the cattle out of the area to be butchered and processed. In addition to cattle, dairy production was another reliable venture in the county. Several dairies operated in and around Cañon City. Fremont County's dairy industry produced over $2 million a year in the 1970s.

Other livestock like chickens and poultry developed into a successful business in this county as well. In 1920s, chickens from Cañon City ranked among the top egg layers in the country. One local chick by the name of "Lady Skyline” broke a world record for the number of eggs laid in as many days in 1927.

Captions
From left to right:
• Delivery truck loaded with bunches of celery; ca. 1940.
• Green Hill Brand label from the Colorado Packing Company; ca. 1945.
• Apple pickers; ca. 1905.
• Monarch Dairy Order Tags; ca. 1945.
The Banana Belt of Colorado Marker Detail image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, July 7, 2020
3. The Banana Belt of Colorado Marker Detail
Apple pickers; ca. 1905.
Lambuth's Poultry Farm; ca. 1940.
• Branding cattle at the Beckham Ranch; ca. 1900.

For more information please visit the Royal Gorge Regional Museum & History Center at 612 Royal Gorge Blvd.
 
Erected by Royal Gorge Regional Museum & History Center.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: AgricultureEnvironmentIndustry & Commerce.
 
Location. 38° 26.418′ N, 105° 14.462′ W. Marker is in Cañon City, Colorado, in Fremont County. Marker is on Main Street east of South 4th Street, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 428 Main Street, Canon City CO 81212, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. First People, Explorers & Settlers (within shouting distance of this marker); 405 Main Street (within shouting distance of this marker); Raynolds Bank (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); St. Cloud Hotel (approx. 0.2 miles away); Hotel St. Cloud (approx. 0.2 miles away); First Presbyterian Church (approx. 0.2 miles away); Bustling Center for Trade, Transportation, and Tourism (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Gold Belt Tour National Scenic Byway (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cañon City.
 
The Banana Belt of Colorado Marker Detail image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, July 7, 2020
4. The Banana Belt of Colorado Marker Detail
Monarch Dairy Order Tags; ca. 1945.
The Banana Belt of Colorado Marker Detail image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, July 7, 2020
5. The Banana Belt of Colorado Marker Detail
The Banana Belt of Colorado Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, July 7, 2020
6. The Banana Belt of Colorado Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 21, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 18, 2020, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 78 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on July 18, 2020, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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Mar. 6, 2021