Agriculture in the Upper Arkansas Valley was initially developed to meet the demand of area mining camps. The flood of fortune-seekers created a market for meat, flour, vegetables, and other foods.
French immigrant Frank Mayol, credited with establishing the valley's first farm, began cultivating land eight miles north of present day Buena Vista in 1863 and prospered selling potatoes to miners at California Gulch (present day Leadville).
Most of the early farms and ranches developed adjacent to streams, for although the climate of the Upper Arkansas Valley was mild, it was also arid. John Tanasee settled east of Poncha Springs in 1863. He secured early water rights and dug the first irrigation ditch. He reportedly brought the first herd of cattle into the county.
Over the next decade ranches and water rights were established throughout the valley. Homesteaders who secured land and water rights along Cottonwood Creek in 1864 were the seed of what became the town of Buena Vista. Thomas Cameron dug a long irrigation ditch from the Arkansas River to the Adobe Park area
By the early 1880s, settlement had increased in the county and the range was more restricted, but cattle ranching continued in the valley. Descendents of the original ranching families still carry on the tradition, providing not only cattle but also scenic vistas and a sense of continuity.
Charles Nachtrieb owned his Chalk Creek ranch by 1865, and in 1868 he built the area's first grist mill to grind flour and grains for the locals. Later he built a saw mill and eventually his land holdings included over 1,000 acres with a home, barn, blacksmith shop, storehouse, warehouse and other buildings. The small community that grew around the ranch became known as Nathrop, a local pronounciation of Nachtrieb's German surname.
Today only a small portion of Nachtrieb's original holdings remain in agriculture. As with many historic ranches across the country, much of the land has been sold and subdivided into 35-acre tracts.
Have you "herd" this?
[Informational and not transcribed]
Erected 2009 by Collegiate Peaks Byway, National Scenic Byways, and Greater Arkansas River Nature Association.
Topics. This historical marker is
Location. 38° 42.678′ N, 106° 5.518′ W. Marker is near Nathrop, Colorado, in Chaffee County. Marker is on U.S. 285 2 miles south of Chalk Creek Drive, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Nathrop CO 81236, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 7 other markers are within 14 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Peaks to Pastures (here, next to this marker); Whose Water Is It? (here, next to this marker); Christmas 1806 (approx. 8.2 miles away); Finding Our Roots / New Faces Along the River / Pike Explores the Valley (approx. 8.3 miles away); The Salida Steam Plant (approx. 13.2 miles away); Chaffee County Honor Roll Board (approx. 13.3 miles away); The Jackson Hotel (approx. 13.8 miles away).
Also see . . .
1. Collegiate Peaks Byway. (Submitted on October 24, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Preserving the heart of Rocky Mountain ranching heritage (Trust for Public Land). (Submitted on October 24, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Credits. This page was last revised on October 24, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 24, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 44 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on October 24, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.