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Willard, Colorado

Expected Release Date:  December 1, 2020

The Burlington Railroad, Community, and Life on the Twentieth Century’s Colorado High Plains

Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad built a new line to extend its service from Chicago through Nebraska, northeastern Colorado to Cheyenne, Wyoming.  The railroad’s land subsidiary, Lincoln Land Company, promoted land sales along its route to prospective farmers and other settlers using marketing campaigns in the  eastern United States and in Europe.

The Homestead Act brought many settlers to the Willard area where they “proved up” their land.

The Willard town plat takes shape and Willard incorporates in 1888.  A growing community brought families together as Willard became the center for a rural, agricultural society .

Drought and the Depression of 1893 slows the economic engine in Willard.  Church, school, and community makes the turn of the Twentieth Century as Willard looks to the future.

Two world wars, boom times, and the Great Depression sees Willard through adversity, growth and expansion.

Postwar World War II brings growth, but changes in the American economy and the shift to urban areas spells the beginning of the end for Willard and its people.

SKU: 643950456772 Category:

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

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