For over 35 years, History Colorado and the Colorado Department of Agriculture have recognized the important role that agriculture has played in our state’s history and economic development through the Centennial Farms & Ranches program, celebrated each year at the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo.
Above: Kochis Farm homestead, 2009. Photo courtesy of the Kochis Farm.
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In 1915 Leslie V. Allen filed a homestead in Dove Creek with the Department of the Interior. At the time, the farm was just 160 acres. Three years later, Allen applied for an additional 80 acres of land.
Jake and Catherine Allmer purchased Allmer Farm and Ranch on February 14, 1916. After Catherine Allmer died in childbirth, Jake married Clara Knisler on January 14, 1932. The two had nine children, one of whom was Floyd Allmer.
In the early 1900s Russian Germans George and Alice Ament began farming near Fruita, but relocated to Iliff in Logan County in 1914 when they purchased 502 acres from a sheep rancher who didn’t like the new North Sterling Irrigation District.
In 1912 Harry and Clara Ashbaugh purchased land south of Buckingham, Colorado, as a homestead relinquishment. Harry spent the spring of 1913 moving household goods, stock, and implements from Nebraska to the land in northeast Weld County. Clara and their two sons had joined him in 1913 and lived in the barn for 6 months.
In 1886 Marion Grant Ashcraft and his brother James Henry left their home in Kentucky to head west, eventually settling in Vilas of Bent County, Colorado. There, Marion married Sadie Bolender in 1892. The couple left Bent County to homestead 160 acres in Elbert County in 1906.
The Aspaas Ranch, located near Hesperus in LaPlata County,was deeded to Annette Johnsen Aspaas, a Norwegian immigrant, in 1913. Annette passed in 1920, dividing the ranch among her four children and it has remained in the family since then. Historically and today, Aspaas Ranch raises cattle and allows grazing in the autumn. By 2010, Helen Ruth Aspaas finished purchasing shares from cousins and became sole owner of the property. In 2010, Helen Ruth placed a conservation easement on the ranch, held by La Plata Open Space Conservancy.
Bagley Hills Ranch is a livestock operation located in Yuma county owned by Donald and Deborah Godsey. Don’s grandmother, Alice Bagley, came to Colorado from Missouri in 1910. She applied for a homestead patent for 160 acres near her parents’ homestead south of Eckley. Arthur Bagley graduated from college in Kirkland, Missouri in 1910 when he then moved to Colorado and married Alice. In 1919 they bought a ½ section where they made their home for many years.
Earl and Frances Bailey, grandparents to current owner Don, homesteaded Bailey Ranch in 1916 after traveling from Hennessey Oklahoma in a covered wagon. They raised feed crops, cows, and horses, which was continued by their son Loren and Betty Lee Bailey.