Big Timbers History Corner #18 – Fort Lyon Canal

When settlers began to come out to Colorado, it didn’t take long for them to figure out that farmers were going to have to help Mother Nature out in the moisture department if they wanted crops to actually grow. In 1887, two existing canals, the La Junta and the Lamar, were enlarged and reincorporated as the Fort Lyon Canal Company. This canal would eventually grow to be over 113 miles long, rivaling the Arkansas itself for depth and width at some points. It’s hard for us modern types to wrap our heads around how much work this took, especially in the days before machinery could help.

This photo from Big Timbers Museum’s collection has two names written on it. Thanks to mechanical help even more advanced than a back hoe, I can share the following information from the Leon Reporter in Iowa, published with permission from the Lamar Sparks on March 17, 1898:

Married — On last Monday evening, March 7, by Rev. G.W. Corey of Lamar, L.B. MORRIS, one of May Valley’s most estimable and prosperous young men, and MISS TREULIE J. GAMMON, of Decatur County, Iowa. O.A. Hunter acted as best man and Miss Janie Morris, bridesmaid. A bounteous supper of the delicious edibles of the land was served at the groom’s home on the north side in the evening to his many friends, at which time they received congratulations and many beautiful and valuable presents. May peace, happiness and prosperity be their lot through life is the wish of their many friends.

Speaking of mechanical marvels, Big Timbers Museum has an entire building dedicated to an amazing assortment of antique cars and wagons. Admission is only $3 for individuals, or $2 each for groups of 10 or more. $5 lets you bring the whole family for a fun learning experience that also helps preserve our Prowers County heritage for future generations. An even better deal is a membership, $10 for an individual and $15 for a family. Open 10 am to 5 pm Tues-Sat. Call 336-2472 for more details.

Big Timbers History Corner is brought to you by Susan Crites

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