DEARFIELD — All that remains of the house where Albert Groves once lived is a pile of weathered lumber close to the still- standing home of the man who founded this long-dead African-American farming community.
"I learned to drive a car up and down this dirt road," Groves, 83, told a small group of people who came to help celebrate the ghost town's 100th anniversary.
On Sunday, re-enactors dressed as Buffalo Soldiers — African-American soldiers who served in the Southwest and the Great Plains during the Indian Wars — assembled at the settlement to help unveil a granite marker in honor of its history.
Though Groves' home has been destroyed, at least three of the buildings that remain have been stabilized. Some restoration work has been done on the home of founder Oliver Toussaint "O.T." Jackson, said Bill Garcia, chairman of the Dearfield Centennial Committee.
The committee — composed of representatives from the Black American West Museum, the city of Greeley, the Greeley Museums, Weld County, Colorado Preservation Inc. and others — has worked to illuminate Dearfield's history.
The Black American West Museum has been working to stabilize and restore the few remaining structures in the town, which sits about 30 miles east of Greeley off U.S. 34.
Six buildings still stand, Garcia said.
Jackson filed a homestead claim for 320 acres in Weld County in 1910. Dr. J.H.P Westbrook named the colony Dearfield, saying the fields and homes "will be very dear to us."
The first settlers arrived in 1911. By 1920, as many as 300 people lived in the area.
The population began to dwindle after World War I, when men who went off to fight chose to move to larger cities rather than return home.
The Great Depression and the drought that created the Dust Bowl in the nation's heartland dealt the death blow.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Colorado ghost town marks 100th anniversary.
From the Denver Post: