Town of Blanca Colorado

San Luis Valley News

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George and Catherine Wood were very important in the settling of the "Trinchera Colony" and the Town of Blanca.

The Woods were recruited by the San Luis Valley Land Company to come to the area and establish a newspaper. They were not employees of the company, and often opposed the company's policies, but they were enthuastic supporters of the potential of the Blanca area.

After touring the Valley, they established the San Luis Valley News at Fort Garland in 1907. Subscriptions were sold at $1.50 per year and reached many of the contract holders. By May 1908, the News was being sent to 47 states and 8 foreign countries. After the August 1908 allotment, the News moved to the new Town of Blanca and continued to keep the contract holders informed about the growth and development of the area.

George Wood in the office of the San Luis Valley News in Blanca

In November 1909, George Wood wrote: "Two years ago last September I left my happy home and landed in (the Blanca area). I came to see and conquer something. I knew as much or less about the Valley as those who have never been here. I had been told that it was a wonderful valley: that potatoes would grow better here than in any other land. I was also told that nothing much would grow: that most of the land had been farmed and had been proven worthless, the farmers giving away their crops and abandoning their land.

"But I was here and wanted to stay and start something. But I did not want to start a paper in (the Blanca area) until I could convince myself that the country around about was able to produce some subscribers. So I went out in the air and over the ground with most of the (contract holders) who were dropping in to see how badly they were done up. These men I talked with every day and many days and found to my entire satisfaction that this land, with water, was productive; not only that, but I convinced myself beyond peradventure that this same San Luis valley is the best agricultural land in the wide world.

"Then I was ready to start, feeling sure that I could say tall things about the country and have them verified. This has been done in a small way. But the great future of this great valley is still for the future. In the past two years there have visited the valley a good percent of those buying land in this tract, and from these visitors there has gone out to the others the true story of the country.

"I am only speaking now of the fertility of the land. The sunshine, the pure water, the health-giving climate, the ideal summer weather and the beautiful scenery are by the way"

George Wood died in 1922. Catherine Wood edited and published the San Luis Valley News until 1954 when she sold the paper. The new owners suspended publication. Mrs. Wood was also the superintendent of schools in Blanca for a time and was a justice of the peace for 30 years.

Mrs. Wood also tried unsuccessfully to get the United States Geological Service to acknowledge that Mt. Blanca was 14,464 feet tall-- as old 1895 maps indicated. That height would make Mt. Blanca the highest peak in Colorado (as it was considered at the time the Town of Blanca was founded).

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