In the early 1880s homesteaders arrived in the Willard area in search of free land and a new life for themselves and their families. Soon the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad began construction on a new rail line that began in Nebraska, and stretched across northeastern Colorado and terminated at Cheyenne, Wyoming. The railroad company formed the Lincoln Land Company to develop towns and water stops along the route to support the new steam engines racing across the prairie lands. The town plat for Willard and a new water well led to the incorporation of the town in 1888 and families began to arrive in larger numbers.
This film traces the story of ordinary people who did extraordinary things. They proved up homesteads, raised families, built businesses, battled droughts and depressions, and tamed a difficult land. Family and community were raised up on the prairie lands along the Little Pawnee Creek and did their part in settling the American West. Today the winds blow across an almost empty landscape. Most families are gone, old buildings lay scattered and deserted, but memories still linger of the once vibrant world of Willard, Colorado and the people who once called this place home.
Length 58 minutes
Jim Warren –
I love hearing about Willard. Being raised in Atwood brings this article close to my heart! Rural Northeastern Colorado history brings out so much excitement and great stories about Atwood, Merino, Willard. Iliff, Padroni and all of the other little thriving small and healthy little towns. I loved it!!!!!!!
Vernon Williams –
Thanks for the comment. Hope you can make it to our premiere in Sterling at the Fox V on Sunday, October 25th at 2 pm. Free admission. Please spread the word. Dr. Williams
Jeff Svacina (verified owner) –
As my family grew up in the area I was anxious to see this documentary. I must say you did an outstanding job with it. It was great seeing some of the homesteaders and hearing their stories. Thank you for all your work on it.
Vernon Williams –
Thanks, Jeff. I was so grateful to meet and interview Bud. Betty Hammond in San Antonio also contributed greatly with photographs of the early days. Thank you to all the Svacina family.