WAY BACK WHEN: The Loma Resettlers
From the get-go, the Grand Valley has attracted a brand of people hell-bent on farming and ranching on land as hardscrabble as they themselves. The fact that two rivers joined here and headed west made it possible to turn the desert into a land of infinite possibilities.
In 1935, President Franklin Roosevelt created the Resettlement Administration, giving farmers who could not defeat the three D’s — dust, drought and depression — the opportunity to borrow money to start again. Thirty-two families resettled in the area under what was called Western Slope Farms. Cooperation was key. They lived in government-built homes that were designed for a much snowier climate with high-pitched roofs and four rooms. The REA brought electricity to the area and the Loma Community Hall — built by the WPA, another one of Roosevelt’s “alphabet agencies” — held dances, school athletics, and 4-H and Jolly 16 Club meetings.
Thomas W. Beede relocated his family from Nunn, in northeastern Colorado, to Loma. The family diversified and prospered, growing beans, sugar beets, onions and corn. They raised prize-winning animals and paid back Uncle Sam. Thomas and Marguerite raised four children, Margaret, Wayne, Joyce and Bob. Their grandchildren still live in the Grand Valley. Photographer Albert Rothstein was sent to the area to document their progress for the Farmers Security Administration. His collection of photographs are now in the Library of Congress. The Fruita Consumers Coop was established in 1937 and served the farmers and ranchers the same way they do today.
Come experience that rich agricultural history at their annual Farm and Ranch Day on Saturday, March 15.