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Town of Blanca Colorado

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In 1908, the San Luis Valley Land Company, based in Kansas City, Missouri, was trying to decide how to sell over 65,000 acres of land in the San Luis Valley of south central Colorado.

The Valley, the largest alpine valley in the world, is surrounded by beautiful mountain peaks; but the Valley prairie itself looks rather barren. (It's not; because of a large aquifer underlying the area, farming is a major industry.) But, the Valley is a high desert, and was not what eastern people envisioned as good farm land in 1908. Somehow the Land Company had to appeal to people from "back East".

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One great idea was to print literature and hire salesmen to travel all over the United States selling contracts for a land lottery. The literature guaranteed a "perpetual water right" to the property. The idea worked. The company sold over 6700 contracts for $150 each (payable at $10 per month). Each contract guaranteed the contract holder at least 5 acres with the possibility of getting up to 640 acres in the lottery. The contract holder would also receive a lot in the newly plotted Town.

George and Catherine Wood were recruited by the company to begin a newspaper in the area. The Woods reported developments in the new "Trinchera Colony" and many contract holders subscribed to learn more about the land they would obtain.

Over 4000 people came from 27 eastern and midwestern states by wagon or train to attend the lottery. The drawing for the allotment of the land was held on August 8, 1908 and was a success for the land company. The Town of Blanca was founded the same day with the planting of a flag at the intersection of Main Street and Broadway.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Jean Butler 2014

 

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