Haxtun must have been quite attractive place to the first settlers, with its gently rolling hills and fertile soil. Many of these early pioneers were Civil War veterans, some were adventurers and others were just desperate for a new way of life. We may never know their personal reasons for coming, but we do know that they came. They came and built homes along creeks and atop small rises, they came to farm and they came to raise children.
Haxtun officially became a town July 1, 1909, but its colorful history goes back to the early days of 1885.
The first Post office was established in 1888 and one of the first settlers was Alice Strohm. Miss Strohm, who was also the first postmaster, wanted the new town to be named Lillydale, but she was overruled by Mr. Emerson, who worked for the Lincoln Land Company. Instead He named it, after his hometown in New York, which sat on the banks of the Hudson. Later, while surveying for the railroad, the land company bought Miss Strohm's and Miss Fletcher's (see Bio) land for $1,000.00 in gold.
The first stores in town where owned by Ben Raymon and Mr. Hendrix who ran a general store that also housed the post office. Mr. Hendrix and his wife always offered lodging to all newcomers since the new town didn’t have a hotel. The general store was destroyed by lighting in 1901.
When the branch line of the railroad failed to be completed to Akron, most of the town of Bryant was moved to Haxtun. A two story brick building called the Drake Mercantile Store was built on the southwest corner of Colorado and Fletcher. It housed the Farmers State Bank,(see bank robbery) a dry good store and a Photography store. Upstairs at the west end was an auditorium which was used for graduations, lodge meeting, dances and school plays.
In 1908 the Methodist church was built and it is interesting to note that the then Gov. Buchtel, came to the churches dedication. In 1919 the Lutheran church was built.
In 1917 the First National Bank opened. It was located in the building which now serves as the town hall.(See photo above) A water tower was erected in 1913 that was used for firefighting and domestic purposes and a power plant in 1917 which can still be used today. It is interesting to note that in the town minutes of 1917 anyone caught giving water to someone with overdue water billed would be fined.
By 1905 the town had 9 building and a population of 52 Haxtun was built in a lagoon and was subjected to flooding in the early day. A small creek northwest of town drained toward the east. The streets of Fletcher and Washington always caught the water. Kids would float on homemade rafts and it is reported that one year a resident named Ann Radford rode a small rowboat down Colorado Street
During the year 1910 many ordinances were passed. In September the town marshal placed an order for a bell, to be use for curfew. The curfew law required all citizens under the age of sixteen to be off all town streets and alleys by 10 o’clock unless they were with an adult member of their family. The bell, which was later replaced with a whistle was sounded at 9:45 pm to warn those under age to get home. By 1912 the town sidewalks were made 6 inches thick. A 1911 ordinance required all new building to be built with fire resistant material(See list of business in 1911). The reason for this ordinance was a fire in a cafe on the corner of Colorado and Ray, which took the life of an 11 year old girl and severely burnt her father when he tried to rescue her. The town board made all the necessary arrangements for the body and guaranteed the burial expense.
The town always helped those in need (See Mr Wisdom's story). In July 1911 a Mr. L.A. Burnett contracted small pox's which left the family destitute. The town paid for the doctor, his medications and arranged and paid for a private nurse from Denver to come and care for him. In 1922 a .5 mill tax was levied on the townsfolk to pay for a band who provided concerts in the summer at the bandstand which stood in the middle of Colorado and Fletcher.
Today the sounds of the semi slowing for the town’s limits, an occasional train whistle or the sight of a plane over head have replaced the sounds of children playing in the streets at sunset, a cow calling to her calf or the whinny of a horse. One thing that hasn't change is the whistle that marks the times of 7am, 12 noon, 1pm a
Item of Interest:
Although Dr. Irving D Ramsay never practice medicine in the state of Colorado, he had passed the examination with high grades. He was a brilliant man and has contributed greatly to medicine.
He is buried in the Haxtun Cemetery in the Ramsay Family plot. Click here to read the biography of him.
The town of Haxtun
OVERALL OF TOWN
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Last updated December 2017