BLM Colorado | WRFO Cultural Resources | Cultural History of Northwest Colorado | Historic EuroAmerican
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Historic Era




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History of Northwest





 Historic line shackMost EuroAmerican archaeological sites of the region date from around 1880, just before the removal of the Utes, through the 1950s. Historic houses, fences, and corrals abound on public lands—often the remnants of failed attempts to homestead in an unforgiving environment. Early oil shale and coal mining operations left their mark, as well as the early oil and gas developments of the 1930s and 1940s.


Even though we have written histories chronicling the colonization and development of Northwest Colorado by EuroAmericans, these records by no means discourage archaeological investigations. Historic records provide a partial, often romanticized or exaggerated view of life for EuroAmerican pioneers. In addition, there were a great many people who lived well outside the view of the government and media agencies who generated historic records. Squatters and outlaws may have actively avoided notice, but they left their mark on the archaeological record. Minorities likely received less attention from history’s authors, but equally contributed to the physical record. The day-to-day activities of the average person probably held less interest for book writers and newspapermen than the rare exceptional occurrence, but archaeology can help to fill in such gaps. Archaeological data complement written and oral histories, allowing researchers to provide a fuller, less biased account of past events. 

 Remnants of an early 20th century chimany

The remains of a line shack (above), and this collapsing chimney, the remnant of a winter camp (left); both sites are from the Philadelphia Cattle Company, and the early ranching in Douglas Creek. 

Last updated: 03-20-2014