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Frontier Diary

Willa SoncartyRegistrar, Frontier Historical Society and Museum
Photo Courtesy Frontier Historical SocietyAn agricultural economic boom was predicted for Silt in 1907, prompting the Denver and Rio Grande Railway to plan expansion of its tracks and to build a new depot at the community. In October 1907, a new townsite was platted, with the hope it would become the economic hub of the area. With the expansion, farmers like those pictured above would have the ease of getting crops to market and the convenience of local shopping.
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What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, By any other name would smell as sweet. – William ShakespeareSince 1889, Silt had been a stop on the Denver and Rio Grande Railway line. A community originally named Ferguson for its first settler, George Ferguson, its name had been changed to Silt to honor the fine-textured, but rich soil of the area.Silt had promise, and the railroad in 1907 saw its own economic gains in that promise. Orchards bearing an abundance of fruit were envisioned. In addition, farmers in the Divide Creek area were planting large crops of sugar beets, the profits of which, it was estimated, could pay off a ranch in a couple of years’ time.With the area’s potential growth in mind, the Denver and Rio Grande Railway studied the idea of expanding its tracks and constructing in the area a new depot. J.R. DeRemer of Glenwood Springs canvassed the local farmers, finding 98 percent of those asked wanted the depot to remain at Silt. DeRemer presented his results to railroad officials who agreed to build the new depot 200 feet east of Silt’s existing depot.That October, DeRemer along with Henry Hasley and Henry Ballard formed the Silt Land and Improvement Co. They then began the platting of Silt’s new townsite.DeRemer, Hasley and Ballard desired a modern community where residents could purchase goods and services locally. To make that vision a reality, they contracted with two large mercantile businesses. They also planned for the construction of a large hotel.Yet, despite its predicted prosperity, the town’s name was ridiculed by one of its neighbors, Grand Valley. In July 1908, the Grand Valley News encouraged the selection of a new name, stating, “You have the finest soil on earth, and the prospects of your town so good that you should not handicap it by the name of Silt.”The name remained, and in the 20th century, the town of Silt lived up to its agricultural and economic expectations. In 1915, the town of Silt was incorporated.Frontier FootnoteReno Pretti of Glenwood Springs corrected the identification of the photograph, which ran April 25. The photo was actually taken by Krueger on what is today’s Donegan Road in West Glenwood Springs when the president returned to Glenwood Springs from his bear hunt in May 1905. Our thanks to Reno for his help with the identification.”Frontier Diary” is provided to the Post Independent by the Frontier Historical Society and Museum, 1001 Colorado Ave., Glenwood Springs. Summer hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.


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