The historic ghost town of Dearfield, located roughly 24 miles east of Greeley and 70 miles northeast from Denver, could become Colorado's next national park if the U.S. Department of the Interior can prove its national significance.
Founded in 1910, the homestead was once the largest black homesteading settlement in Colorado, attracting African-Americans from across Jim Crow-era America. Its estimated that at its peak, the town was home to around 700 people from 35 states.
The community was devastated by the Dust Bowl, which was ultimately the catalyst to its current ghost town status.
Late last year, U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper introduced the Dearfield Study Act. The act calls for the Department of the Interior to conduct a special resource study, in order to determine if it is eligible to become a national park.
“Dearfield is a testament to Black Americans who shaped Colorado’s history,” said Hickenlooper in a news release regarding the act.
“We must honor their legacy and educate future generations by protecting the Dearfield Homestead.”
The act passed in December 2022 as apart of the omnibus bill that was signed by President Biden. It requires the U.S. Department of the Interior to:
-Evaluate the national significance of the site.
-Determine the suitability and feasibility of designating the site as a unit of the National Park Service.
-Consider other alternatives for preservation and protection, if applicable.
-Consult with relevant federal agencies, state/local governments, nonprofits, and private organizations.
-Identify cost estimates.
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