1 The Beginning

by admin on October 9, 2010

Lake Neccudah, CO

In the early to mid 1800’s the area around Lake Neccudah was the winter home to the Arapaho and Comanche Indian Tribes.  Lake Neccudah takes its name from a loosely translated Indian phrase meaning “where the mountains meet the plains.”

Originally part of the Nebraska Territory, Lake Neccudah and was founded on July 29, 1859 to support miners who worked the Colorado gold rush from 1858-1861.  Many of the miners came from poor Irish communities that were devastated by the potato famines of the 1840’s and 50’s.  Along with these immigrants came a rough and tumble lifestyle which gave Lake Neccudah a reputation as a wide open, no holds barred community.  The town was officially incorporated in 1869, ten years after being founded.  In late 1873 5 local merchants pooled their resources and founded the Lake Neccudah Rail Road Company to serve the area’s growing agricultural businesses as well as to provide a rail outlet for the existing mining interests.

Although they came from very diverse backgrounds they all understood that in order to survive financially they must be linked to the outside world.  Zebulon Pike (yes, the Zebulon Pike) brought his gold mining skills.  Kirk Jackson was an old time cattle rancher, originally from Ohio.  Kirk had swindled, er, negotiated a huge piece of land from the Arapaho Indians of the region.  This gave him much needed grazing land for his large herd of beef cattle.  Ed Foltz had been an officer on the Erie Lackawanna RR back in Pennsylvania and brought considerable railroad management skills.  Jack Widmark had been a banker in Philadelphia.  Word had it that Jack was so tight with money that he squeaked when he walked.  And, finally, Samuel Dunwell, a British rogue of questionable heritage who had come to America to avoid certain charges levied against him by one Elizabeth Binney Cooper.  Like Kirk Jackson, Dunwell had managed to, well, reach a land deal with local Comanche Indians that promised much to the local tribe but delivered little.

In 1876 Colorado was granted statehood and the state as well as Lake Neccudah continued to grow.  Mining gold, silver, and coal continued to be an important part of the local economy until the mid 1900’s.  However, throughout the period of 1906 to 1920, numerous miners’ strikes and the depletion of mineral resources eventually forced the local economy to rely increasingly on its agricultural base.

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