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Rocky Ford enterprise. : (Rocky Ford, Colo.) 1887-1950
Alternative Titles:
  • Rocky Ford enterprise with which is consolidated the Ordway news
Place of publication:
Rocky Ford, Colo.
Geographic coverage:
  • Rocky Ford, Otero, Colorado  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Enterprise Pub. Co.
Dates of publication:
  • Began June 1, 1887? Ceased Mar. 17, 1950?
  • English
  • Colorado--Rocky Ford.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01256706
  • Rocky Ford (Colo.)--Newspapers.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Available on microfilm from the Colorado Historical Society.
  • Description based on: Vol. 7, no. 14 (Aug. 31, 1893).
  • Published as: Rocky Ford enterprise with which is consolidated the Ordway news, Sept. 3, 1896-May 20, 1897.
  • Publisher: Will R. Monkman, <January 3-May 29, 1908>.
sn 90051265
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Rocky Ford enterprise. August 31, 1893 , Image 1


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Rocky Ford Enterprise

The area of Rocky Ford, Colorado was platted in 1877 by A. Russell and George W. Swink in the Arkansas River valley in the southeastern plains of the state. By 1887, the town of Rocky Ford was organized and 400 acres were platted and sold almost immediately to incoming settlers. Owing to the fertile soil and irrigation of the area, Rocky Ford thrived as an agricultural center producing high yields of sugar beets and watermelons and becoming known as the "Watermelon Metropolis." Rocky Ford led the state in the advancement of horticulture, particularly fruit grafting, producing 40 varieties of apples, 14 of plums, 33 of grapes, 12 of pears, and 8 of cherries. Rocky Ford was also the home of the Arkansas Valley Agriculture Experiment Station, established under Colorado state law in 1889; the Rocky Ford Milling and Elevator Company; the Birds Brothers' canning plant, which produced 10,000 cans daily of local produce and employed many of Rocky Ford's townsfolk; and the first factory of the American Beet Sugar Refining Company.

The township's paper, the Rocky Ford Enterprise, was founded in 1887 by Harry V. Alexander. The May 12, 1887 issue of the Colorado Daily Chieftain described Alexander as a "pleasant gentleman, who if appearances are a true index, will be able to reach the grangers through the hay seed and corn cobs, and convince them, not only that towns are much benefited by the intelligent and industrious husbandman...but also that the towns do confer upon the farmers many advantages in return." In 1890, David W. Barkley purchased the paper, but almost immediately sold it to Richard C. Herrick, formerly of the Chieftain. Under Herrick the Enterprise changed in appearance--new masthead, new type--and, allegedly, the increase in circulation necessitated the purchase of a steam power press to keep up with demand. Herrick sold the paper to the Enterprise Publishing Company in 1891 and Charles S. Linn came on as the new editor.

By 1893, David Barkley re-purchased the Enterprise. Under Barkley, the paper was enlarged and outfitted with a complete steam plant. Described as an agricultural rather than a political paper, although it was Republican-affiliated, the mission of the Enterprise was to "make a weekly history of the doings, growth, and progress of this, the best and most prosperous section of the rich Arkansas Valley." The Plaindealer, published in Ouray, Colorado, described the Enterprise as a "little fellow, but full of juice, like the melons out there" on August 26, 1904. The Enterprise covered agriculture, the canning factory, flour mill, and sugar refinery. It published special editions written and edited by the women of Rocky Ford and featured local events such as "Watermelon Days," once printing a lithographic picture of the town's founder and benefactor of Watermelon Days, who was by then Senator George W. Swink, pictured standing beside an upright watermelon five feet long.  

Barkley continued as editor and publisher of the Enterprise until 1907 when, due to his failing health, he sold the paper to Will R. Monkman. Monkman published the Enterprise with his wife and daughter for the next 38 years. In 1944, James B. Woody bought the Enterprise, which he merged with the Rocky Ford Tribune in 1947. The Enterprise was ultimately sold to Miles F. Porter of The Rocky Ford Daily Gazette Topic enterprise.

Provided by: History Colorado