Huerfano County, Colorado

Contributed by: Louise Adams
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La Veta

La Veta History, by Nancy Christofferson - Huerfano World - April 23, 1998

This incorporation was also invalid and La Veta finally got it right in 1886.

The D&RG built into town in 1876, the rails going right up Main Street and angling into the plaza and beyond. Construction of the tracks west of La Veta continued until Garland City was established in 1877. At that time many of the hastily built frame houses and stores were perched on flat cars and hauled to the next terminus. Thus the fledgling town lost much of its revenue through the sale of business licenses, mostly to saloons.

The railroad remained important to La Veta. As a section point, many employees lived here, and many others rented rooms or homes. Passenger trains stopped for meals in the two hotels.

La Veta by the 1880s was becoming more prosperous. Crops were good. Purebred Herefords were brought in and the area remained noted for the quality of its cattle until the 1950s.

Many dry land crops were grown on surrounding farms. In early days, potatoes grown in the mountains nearby were a big boon.

Amos Hayes is credited with harvesting the first hay crop on irrigated land. During the 1910s and 1920s weather conditions were good enough for large wheat, oat and corn crops. Many of the farmers dug reservoirs about this time.

Although classes were held in various other buildings before, La Veta District #9 built its first schoolhouse before 1880. It was on Main Street, an adobe building just west of the present high school. It was quickly outgrown and rooms were rented around town for use as classrooms. A frame addition was built on in 1882, which "saves the district $8 a month" in rentals.

The old red brick schoolhouse was built in 1877 on the hill east of the present school. It was large enough, but poorly constructed. The second floor, which swayed in high winds, was removed in 1911. The next year the "new" school was built across the street. The Red Brick was finally torn down in the 1950s.

La Veta's first high school graduation was in 1904. In 1905 some of the rural schools consolidated with La Veta for a union high school, which occupied the 1912 building. Still does. Eventually La Veta took in the students from the districts of Middle Creek, Oakview, Ojo, Cuchara, Ritter, Sager and Wahatoya.

La Veta's peak population was 891 in the 1940 census. It may top that in 2000.

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