Preservation: The Fort that Wouldn’t Die

A Town in Peril


Dearfield, Colorado, has a special place in Western history. The town was founded in 1910 by 700 blacks who hoped to become farmers. “For many, this was their last chance to own something, to live the American Dream,” says La Wanna Larson, curator of the Black American West Museum in Denver.

The Depression brought hard times. The last resident finally left 35 years ago. Volunteers, led by Larson, are trying to save Dearfield. Only three buildings remain, and although preservation plans have been drawn, nothing has happened.  The Black American West Museum faces challenges, as it’s based 90 miles away from the town. Larson is the only museum staff member, with an annual museum budget of about $80,000—and only about $5 in its Dearfield fund. Weld County, where Dearfield is located, and Colorado Preservation are interested in helping.

“This town is in huge peril,” Larson says. “It will not survive another winter.”


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