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Attractions (in category: Agriculture)
Kiowa County Museum offers opportunity to muse over the prehistory and settlement of early Kiowa County and the High Plains. The area's past from Indians, Ranches, Homesteaders, Farmers, Businesses; how people lived, worked, played and interacted with depression, tragedy, poverty and failure as well as success and happiness is displayed. Memoirs of world events such as wars, railroads and inventions are seen from a local view.
For an authentic experience of the local landscape and historic features, take a jaunt down County Road M off Hwy 287. Kirkwell is marked by a historic stone building, which served as a post office from 1917-21 and in the 1940s as a dry-goods store and community center. To the west, the settlement of Carrizo Flats was platted in 1880 during the first homestead act and land rush in eastern Colorado. The town operated a post office from 1887-1895, but there was very little water so they picked up and moved the town, buildings and all, to Carrizo Springs (some six miles west) in 1895. Carrizo Flats and Carrizo Springs were the only two towns in southwestern Baca County in the 1880s.
The 1909 dam is significant for its engineering and as an intact example of a turn-of-the-century earthen dam built to aid in irrigating portions of southeastern Colorado. The dam was built before machinery with horses, mules and hand labor. Remains of the canal that delivered water many miles for farming use are still visible above the road through the adjacent Two Buttes State Wildlife Area that lies at the foot of the dam. Locally known as the "Black Hole," the deep water between the cliffs remains a vital source of water (and popular swimming hole) even when the reservoir is dry.
The stone barn was built in 1879 by John Gores and Hiram S. Holly on the SS Ranch, one of the largest and earliest cattle ranches in the area. Hiram Holly established the ranch at a time when Colorado's early dependence on mining was increasingly giving way to agriculture. The trade and commerce at Holly SS Ranch was seminal for the founding of the town of Holly, which grew up near it. Constructed of native stone, the barn is one of the most well preserved stone barns in the region and is exemplary of construction during the pioneer period.
Learn about adobe brick construction by viewing the fairgrounds' adobe stalls, which were built as a WPA (Works Progress Administration) project in 1938. The best surviving example of WPA work in Rocky Ford, this impressive project encompassed some 85 stalls and was one of a series of WPA improvement projects at the Arkansas Valley Fairgrounds that provided a significant source of employment. Adobe was an inexpensive yet labor intensive building material--a good fit for WPA projects in eastern Colorado that ensured most of the money went to labor rather than materials. Some stalls are still in use, and many are being restored by volunteers.
Built in 1914 as a country school, the building has been painstakingly restored and serves as both Crowley County's museum of agricultural, social, and economic history and a community meeting place. This museum brings to light the agricultural involvement of early Japanese settlers who arrived between 1915-1920 through photographs and family histories. Notable among the artifacts on exhibit within the museum is an excellent collection of photographs from Camp Amache, a World War II Japanese internment camp located in Prowers County, which reflects the strong influence of Japanese culture in the region. Other natural, ethnic, social and economic collections reflect the evolution of Crowley County's heritage.