Keota, a tiny farming community founded in 1888, was one of 12 towns that developed along the Burlington Railroad line in eastern Colorado. The town developed as a result of westward expansion, the 1820 Land Act, the 1841 Preemption Act, and the 1862 Homestead Act. Despite harsh farming conditions, the population of the town grew, peaking at 140, and the town thrived. Unfortunately, like many Colorado towns, Keota did not survive once the railroad left, and the town is virtually gone today. With the help of History Colorado's recent acquisition of the Sandstead/Keota Collection, the town of Keota and its residents will not be forgotten.
The significance of the Sandstead/Keota Collection is tied to the fact that it documents three generations of women - Mary Stephenson Stanley, E. Fae Stanley Oram, and Auriel Oram Sandstead - living on the Eastern Plains of Colorado. These women were wives, mothers, artists, educators, and community leaders. Additionally, the collection documents the town and community history of Keota, Colorado and includes information on other towns in the area, such as Stoneham, Sligo, Grover, Briggsdale, Sterling, Willard, and Midway. The documents and artifacts found in the collection reflect what life was like for residents of the Eastern Plains in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The Sandstead/Keota Collection includes archival, photography, and artifact materials. There are more than 1000 artifacts in the collection, ranging from a basketball uniform to a rocking chair to a soap dish from the Keota Hotel to a child's sewing machine. The collection also includes roughly 35 linear feet of manuscript material. It took collection staff several months to individually catalog and photograph each artifact in the collection. Work on processing the manuscript collection (Mss.02161) is ongoing.
Residents of Keota, past and present, such as Clyde Stanley, E. Fae Stanley Oram, Auriel Oram Sandstead, and the collection's donor, Vicki Sandstead, have worked Keota's history alive. By caring for and preserving this collection, History Colorado now strives to do the same.
Leigh Jeremias, Associate Curator of Archives
Contact the Library
Stephen H. Hart Library and Research Center
History Colorado Center
Denver, CO 80203