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Willard, Colorado

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.

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