"Like many communities in the west, Deer Trail developed around a railroad station. In 1870, a station was built when the railroad tracks were laid. On November 11, 1875, the Kansas Pacific Railway granted and platted theland for the town of Deer Trail. Deer Trail became an important shippingpoint in eastern Colorado for livestock, and later grain, cream, eggs, and otherproducts. On July 4, 1869, Deer Trail was home to the first rodeo. Manyhomes and businesses were built in Deer Trail prior to the turn of thecentury.
The Town incorporated in 1920. Deer Trail adopted a mayor and board of trustees type of government. S. Guy Morrow was the Town's first mayor.He was elected on April 6, 1920. The 1920's also marked Deer Trail's most prosperous era. Many businesses opened including two banks, two lumber companies, two barber shops,three hotels, five markets and grocery stores, several cream stations, a drug store, fashion shop, theater, cafe's, bakery, doctor and dentists offices, a real estate office, and grain elevators. The fairgrounds were built in the 1920's by a group of Deer Trail business men who formed a FairAssociation. By September 23, 1920, the regulation half-mile track, large grandstand, and pavillion was built. In 1923 an artesian water well was drilled. In 1924 a water tower was constructed as well as the sewer system. The 1930's were significant in Deer Trail's history because during the decade a highway through town was constructed. This road is known as State Highway 40, or 1 st Avenue. During the 1960s Interstate 70 was constructed. On June 17, 1965, Deer Trail suffered a tremendous flood. Sections of the railroad tracks and ofhighway 40 were washed downstream. The business district was under six feet of water. The Town never fully recovered. Many business owners chose not to rebuild, others moved to be closer to the 1-70 interchange, and other buildings had to be torn down. In 1969, after nearly 100 years, the railroad discontinued service to the depot. The deed to the depot was given to the Deer Trail Pioneer Historical Society and in June, 1971, the structure was moved to the town park to be used as museum. Deer Trail's population has remained fairly stable in recent years. However, the growth of the metropolitan area, particularly around DenverInternational Airport, may create development pressure in Deer Trail in the coming years."
Taken from this History page for Deer Trail.
Home Of The World's First Rodeo - July 4th, 1869
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Deer Trail is served by Denver International Airport, which is approximately 40miles west of Deer Trail. The nearest hospitals are in Aurora, 44 miles awayor in Hugo, 48 miles away. Dentists and doctors as well as a broad range ofgoods and services can be found in Strasburg, 18 miles away; Bennett, 24miles away; Limon 32 miles away, or Aurora 42 miles away.
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"We don't have to depend on the hazy memories of old timers to find outwhat the earliest rodeos were like, because there were rodeo reporters backin those days too. A few yellowed pages describing the excitement stillexist, going back as far as July 4, 1869. The account of this first rodeo,then called a bronco busting contest, was published in a sportsman magazine(Field and Farm, July 8, 1889) some twenty years later. Of course the anonymous writer who recorded that contest didn't call it a rodeo. To him it was a riding competition between the cowboys of the Mill Iron, Camp Stool, and Hashknife outfits, who had met during their drives at Deer Trail, Colorado, and had decided among themselves to have a test of skill and strength. There was prize money to be won, though the reporter does not say how much. The rules he quotes specified that the horses should be ridden "with aslick saddle, free of the roll usually tied across the back." Stirrups were not to be tied under the horse's belly, and spurs were forbidden. The story describes a young cowpuncher named Will Goff, who claimed he could ride anything with hair on it. When a gentle-looking bay was led out, Will proclaimed that he was rarin' to go. "He pulled off his coat, threw his suspenders aside, took a reef in his belt and with one bound landed on the bay's back. Swish and his felt hat whistled through the air and caught the bronco (Spanish for course, rough, wild) across the side of the head. The pony pitched violently for fifty yards, making about 30 revolutions a minute." When the bay quit spinning he started to run, Goff brought him back shouting, "Give me my spurs and I'll make him pitch." They gave him his spurs, and Will raked and rode the bucker until he was exhausted. That was quite a ride, but it wasn't the winning one. The champion of the day was, surprisingly, an Englishman with the fancy name of Emilnie Gardenshire, regular cowhand for the Mill Iron ranch. He drew a wild Hashknife bronco named Montana Blizzard. The horses used in the bucking contest were what the cowboys called 'outlaws.' These outlaws were horses that were very difficult or impossible to break or ride. Our reporter describes this match between, man and beast with gusto. "Gardenshire, rawhide whip in hand, crawled aboard cautiously, and once firm in his seat began to larrup the horse unmercifully. A sight followed which tickled the spectators hugely. The Englishman rode hands free, plying the whip constantly. "There was a frightful mix-up of cowboy and horse, but Gardenshire refused to be unseated. For fifteen minutes the bronco bucked, pawed and jumped from side to side. Then amid the cheers, the mighty Blizzard succumbed, and Gardenshire rode him around the circle at a gentle lope."
Another cowboy, Drury Grogan, drew a sorrel pony which carried the Camp Stool brand. As soon as the horse was saddled and Drury was on his back, it pitched, plunged, kicked and see sawed, but did not unseat the cowboy, who made a successful ride and was awarded with the applause and cheers of the crowd. Gardenshire won a suit of clothes donated by a Denver dry goods firm, and the title "Champion Bronco Buster of the Plains." The reporter does not name the dry goods company. This first organized rodeo was held in Deer Trail at this Independence Day celebration in 1869.
Deer Trail Libraries Davies Public Library
350 Second Avenue
Deer Trail, Colorado 80105-0288
The library isin the Deer Trail High School