Monte Vista, Colorado
The early history of Monte Vista
is unique in that it claims neither single name nor
Its beginnings go back to 1881, when the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad
placed a railroad siding named Lariat at a site by the
present Fullenwider Park. This siding, with a switch, water tank and
section house, was to serve the early settlers from Swede Lane and
At this time a young widow, Lillian L. Taylor who became Mrs.
Charles Fassett in 1882, set up a small general store south of the
railroad water tank - it became the L.L. Fassett store.
Other early settlers who came were: Henry Taylor, who purchased 160
acres from the U.S. Land Office in July, 1882, to homestead the
Lariat town site near the new D. & R. G.
Railroad track and depot; Maurice Pelton who acquired this same town
site in November, 1882; and Hiram H. Marsh who homesteaded the area
known today as Marsh Park.
Soon a land promoter, Theodore C. Henry, who had been looking for a
likely spot for new canal
ventures, arrived at the town site and brought excursionists from
the east to invest in a new town. Some stayed and some went
Henry also borrowed great sums of money for his
land and canal ventures. Chauncey S. and Henry J. Aldrich, who
had come by excursion train to the new western site, joined
Henry to form the Henry Town & Land Co.
Then in February, 1884, the Aldrich brothers purchased the Lariat town
site from Maurice Pelton for the Henry Town &
Land Co. This site was the beginning of the new town of Henry,
named after the ace promoter. It was incorporated on May 1,
1884, platted, and building started at once. Each town deed
included a no-liquor clause.
Henry had borrowed more money than he could repay and suddenly
left town and his debts.
In July, 1885, the Travelers Insurance Co. of
Hartford Conn. took over the Henry interests. They invested heavily
in the new town with land and buildings, compromised with C.S.
Aldrich who had lost most of his investments, and made a request for
Aldrich and Judge White to rename the town.
By the time of incorporation on July 3, 1886, the
town site was replatted and renamed for the mountain vistas
surrounding it -- Monte Vista.
Monte Vista has always
been known for its fine schools and business houses, along with many
fine homes, churches and library. One of its greatest triumphs
was the acquisition, in 1892, of the State Soldiers and Sailors
Home (present State Veterans Center).
established in 1919 and held each July at Ski Hi Park, is the oldest
Pro Rodeo in Colorado.
Each spring the Crane Festival, a
statewide attraction, is held in Monte Vista and nearby Wildlife
Many buildings in town have been listed on the
National Register of Historic Places.
But the prosperity of
Monte Vista goes back to the water, the abundant crops, the
livestock and, from the early pioneers who laid a solid foundation
to the present: a rural community committed to continue
as a city of homes, of churches, and of schools.
Submitted by the Monte Vista Historical Society