How the Dust Bowl of the 1930s Dreadfully Impacted Colorado
The Dust Bowl of the 1930s was a dark time in U.S. history, and a devastating period for southeastern Colorado.
Thousands Dead, Millions Homeless
The Dust Bowl was one of the worst ecological disasters in our country's history. Millions of aces in Colorado, Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico were severely impacted. Thousands of people died, millions were left homeless, millions of acres of farmland were wiped out, and hundreds of animals died.
What Caused the Disastrous Dust Bowl?
The problem has been traced back to the Homestead Act of 1862 when Americans were allowed to claim any 160 acres for free - as long as it was farmed for five years. When the plow and tractor came along in the early 1900s, so much of the natural grasses that kept dry soil in place were plowed up for farming. The soil was exposed to the elements like never before.
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Then came the drought in the 1930s. Southeastern Colorado received only 126 total inches of rain between 1930 and 1939. That was 205 inches less than the previous decade. With fewer crops to protect the soil, the drought, and high winds, the ensuing dust storms were devastating.
Significant and Devastating Impact In Southeastern Colorado
The impact of the Dust Bowl was substantial in southeastern Colorado, most notably Baca County, which sits very close to the very middle of the Dust Bowl impact area. Life in this area during the 1930s was difficult - and nearly unbearable.
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