From the times of the earliest human inhabitation down to the present day, the history of southwestern Colorado has been shaped by various stages of resource development. Progressive phases of human occupation in this area of Colorado have also been characterized by a changing attitude toward how such resources as mountain areas, metals and minerals, water, and grasslands should be best used. A Frontier in Transition; A History of Southwest Colorado is a chronicle of such developments and progress on this Colorado frontier.
The fact that I have chosen to view the history of southwestern Colorado as a developing resource frontier came about through a gradual and, at times, a slow process. The many volumes of Colorado and Trans-Mississippi West history, to which I make numerous references within the text, actually laid the basis for such a perspective. To the countless historians who have recorded the events of southwestern Colorado's past, I owe my gratitude. The compilation and development of this history, however, would have been impossible without the assistance of many individuals who have pointed the way to such beneficial source material, and who have spent many hours of their free time reading, editing, and advising me on the various drafts of this manuscript.
Thanks are due to the staffs at the Western History Department of the Denver Public Library, the Colorado Historical Society, and the Western Historical Collection at the University of Colorado's Norlin Library. For offering data, a concerned and professional perspective along with friendly criticism, I give special thanks to Professor Howard L. Scamehorn of the University of Colorado and to John Albright of the National Park Service. To Don Rickey and Al Alpert of the Bureau of Land Management, who provided needed criticisms on the first draft of this narrative, I also wish to say thank you. To Dr. Frederic J. Athearn of the Colorado State Office, Bureau of Land Management, and to Dr. Douglas Scott of the Montrose District Office, Bureau of Land Management, who worked with me on all stages of this project, and who allowed me the time and space to pursue the work at hand, I am truly indebted. The direction, the friendly and scholarly concern and criticism offered by all of those people who directly or indirectly contributed to the completion of this manuscript is greatly appreciated.
Paul M. O'Rourke
Last Updated: 20-Nov-2008