See the context of this sign.

Dove Creek

The World War I veterans who claimed homesteads near here in the
late 1910s had never fought an enemy quite as intractable as
sagebrush. Clearing the land of it required decades of
backbreaking hand-to-hand combat. But the army of farmers
prevailed, perhaps inspired by their unofficial commander, tireless
Dan Hunter. One of Dove Creek's first settlers, "Sagebrush Dan"
ran a successful pinto bean farm, founded the town's high school,
organized the muncipal water and power utilities, and wrote long,
flowery articles for the newspaper he established. The 1930s
brought a wave of migrants fleeing the Dust Bowl, miners flocked
to town during the uranium boom of the Cold War years, and
tourism has emerged recently as a growth industry. But Dove
Creek and its people remain firmly rooted in the land—anchored
here, like the sagebrush.

Daniel Brown Hunter moved to Dove Creek with his wife Loula in
1918. He began publishing the Dove Creek Press in 1940, and
though he sold his interest in the paper in 1945, he continued to
serve the town in various capacities until his death in 1958.

The Pinto Bean

This self-appointed "pinto bean capital of
America," Dove Creek doesn't claim to
produce the nation's largest crop—just the
best. There's ample justice in the boast.
The local soil and climate create a perfect
environment for pinto beans, which have
been raised here for at least a thousand
years. Ancestral Pueblons grew them in
profusion, using many of the same
techniques modern tillers employ. Locally
grown beans filled GI ration tins during
World War II, and area farmers later helped
researchers develop higher-yielding, more
durable strains that gained worldwide
acceptance. In the 1980s a Dove Creek
supplier began selling "heirloom" beans,
grown from seeds reportedly recovered at
nearby archaeological sites. But the future
of bean cuisine may lie in Dove Creek's
homegrown recipes, which include such
treats as pinto bean ice cream sauce and
pinto bean cookies.

This 1996 photo, taken near
Dove Creek, highlights
various details of the area's
history and heritage
including Ancestral
Puebloan sites alongside
modern agriculture.
Colorado Historical Society

Settlement and Conflict

Ancestral Puebloans

Beginning around A.D. 600, Ancestral
Puebloans built Colorado's first permanent
towns in the canyon country south of here.
Hundreds of these settlements sprawled
across the desert, with an overall population
possibly greater than the region holds
today. Two of the larger communities,
known to us as Yellow Jacket and Lowrey
Pueblos, lodged several hundred souls
apiece. The residents lived in great
houseblocks with scores of rooms, stored
their food in stone granaries, built small
dams and reservoirs for water storage, and
raised corn, beans, and squash in terraced
plots. After prospering for hundreds of
years. these ancestral peoples left their
homes for a variety of reasons, including
climactic changes, increased warfare, and
social upheavels. By 1300 they had left
these extraordinary communities empty
and silent.

Jesse Walter Fewkes of the Smithsonian
Instution (right) and Hovenweep, about
1909. Though an important figure in
early archaeology, Fewkes garnered
criticism for his fanciful reconstructions
unsubstantiated by evidence of what the
original structure might have looked like.
Colorado Historical Society.

Beaver Creek Massacre

Anglo-Ute relations in Colorado reached a low point on June 19,
1885, when a group of cowboys ambushed a peaceful Ute camp on
Beaver Creek, twenty miles southwest of here. Racial tensions had
never subsided after 1879 conflict at the Ute agency in
northwestern Colorado, ever since, "The Utes must go!" had been a
rallying cry for many white settlers. The cowboys who attacked the
Beaver Creek camp took this slogan quite literally, murdering at
least six and perhaps as many as ten people, woman and children
among them. The Utes retaliated by killingg a white rancher, and
several small skirmished followed; only the mediation of Indian
agent Charles Stolistaimer prevented further bloodshed. But there
was little left to fight over by then. The Utes had lost all but the far
southwestern corner of Colorado.

As this 1881 Denver newspaper illustration
shows, emotions about the Utes ran deep.
This sentiment perhaps explains why the
Beaver Creek Massacre, a relatively minor
incident in a remote corner of the state,
aroused such passion.

Unidentified Utes, 1880. The cowboys involved in the Beaver Creek
Massacre had vowed to kill any Indian found off the reservation. Yet,
the Utes murdered that morning had official permission to hunt in
this area in order to supplement their meager government rations.

Don't miss the rest of our virtual tour of Dove Creek, Colorado in 409 images.