High Desert Prairie

In 1908, the land in the eastern San Luis Valley owned by the San Luis Valley Land Company looked much like the presently undeveloped area shown above. The area is a high desert with the major plants being drought tolerant rabbit brush, cacti, sagebrush, greasewood, and bunch grasses. But underlying this high desert is a very large aquifer fed by the snow melt from the surrounding mountains. If the streams and the aquifer were tapped for water, the land would become very productive. During the 1909 growing season, even with the limited water available before the reservoir and the ditch systems were completed and with only a few artesian wells drilled, farmers were able to grow excellent crops of oats, potatoes and field peas.

According to the San Luis Valley News in 1909, Luciano Lucero grew a turnip measuring 32 1/2 inches in circumference. The newspaper reported pea vines measuring twelve feet on Mr. Miller's ranch and "spuds on this ranch are as fine as one ever saw, the wheat is excellent and the oats stand six feet high and are headed out to perfection". M.P. Headlee grew an apple measuring 10 1/2 inches in circumference. The M.E. Blanchard farm produced 300 bushels of potatoes per acre.

In the picture above, Blanca Peak is hidden behind the shaded Little Bear Peak. Ellingwood Point can be seen just behind the ridge coming down toward the left from Little Bear. Farther toward the left is the double Twin Peaks. Mt. Lindsey, also known as Baldy, shows slightly behind the shoulder of Hamilton Peak on the right.

The Official Website of the Town of Blanca
Designed and Built by Jean Butler
Jean Butler 2014

 

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