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Kiowa in Elbert County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

Kiowa

 
 
Kiowa Marker image. Click for full size.
By Charles T. Harrell, June 30, 2011
1. Kiowa Marker
Inscription.
Frontier Communication.

Kiowa was originally named after its postmaster, Henry Wendling. Such identifications were common among Colorado’s frontier hamlets, where the post office often was the town. Widely dispersed settlers would congregate at these stations (usually housed in a ranch or general store) to stay in touch with each other and the outside world. As communities grew, residents kept informed via the local newspaper, which recorded hometown births, deaths, calvings, paintings, fence-mendings, and well-diggings along with state and national events. Kiowa’s most notable publication was the Divide Review, which owner Floyd Lemon produced single-handedly from 1920 to 1960 without missing an edition. All these modes of correspondence-along with the telephone, which went into service here just after 1900-eased the loneliness and isolation of rural life and helped create a sense of community among distant neighbors.

Founded in 1865 as a Smoky Hill Trail station, Kiowa might well have vanished five years later, when the Kansas Pacific Railroad bypassed the town and made the trail obsolete. But enough ranchers had moved here by then to keep Kiowa alive. With plentiful pastures and rapidly growing markets in nearby Denver and Colorado Springs, this was a stockman’s paradise. By the 1880s more than 150,000 cattle and

Kiowa Marker (reverse side) image. Click for full size.
By Charles T. Harrell, June 30, 2011
2. Kiowa Marker (reverse side)
sheep grazed in this area, and farmers began to move in, swelling Kiowa’s population to a few hundred. The town prospered until the Great Depression, survived the Dust Bowl and a devastating 1935 flood, and recovered after World War II, helped along by Denver’s suburban development. By 2000, however, that growth posed a new challenge to Kiowans: how to preserve their western roots in the face of metropolitan encroachment.
 
Erected 2001 by Colorado Historical Society. (Marker Number 272.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the History Colorado marker series.
 
Location. 39° 20.802′ N, 104° 28.023′ W. Marker is in Kiowa, Colorado, in Elbert County. Marker is on Colorado Street (County Route 86), on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Kiowa CO 80117, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 4 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Pioneer Women of Colorado (here, next to this marker); Trail Under Siege / Rising to the Challenge (here, next to this marker); Elizabeth Main Street (approx. 6.9 miles away); Historic Section House (approx. 6.9 miles away).
 
Categories. Political SubdivisionsSettlements & Settlers
 
Kiowa Marker image. Click for full size.
By Charles T. Harrell, June 30, 2011
3. Kiowa Marker
Kiowa County Courthouse 1912 image. Click for full size.
By Charles T. Harrell, June 30, 2011
4. Kiowa County Courthouse 1912
Elbert County residents dedicate their new courthouse in Kiowa, 1912. (Courtesy Elbert County Historical Society)
Kiowa County Courthouse 2011 image. Click for full size.
By Charles T. Harrell, June 30, 2011
5. Kiowa County Courthouse 2011
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 7, 2011, by Charles T. Harrell of Woodford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 601 times since then and 52 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on August 7, 2011, by Charles T. Harrell of Woodford, Virginia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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