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Colorado Eastern Plains in Morgan County

The Eastern Plains of Colorado refers to a region of the U.S. state of Colorado east of the Rocky Mountains and east of the population centers of the Front Range.

Contents

Geography

The Eastern Plains are part of the High Plains, which are the westernmost portion of the Great Plains region. The region is characterized mostly by rolling plains, divided by the South Platte River and Arkansas River valleys. There are also several deciduous forests and a few natural lakes and rivers. The Eastern Plains rise from approximately 3,500 feet at the eastern border of Colorado with Kansas, where the Arkansas River leaves the state, to 6,000 feet east of the Denver Basin.[1]

Most of the Eastern Plains region lies within Colorado's 4th congressional district.

Even though Colorado is considered a quintessential Western state, this region is often considered the Midwest.[2]

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Climate

The Eastern Plains have a continental climate and receive a moderate amount of rainfall. Summers are typically hot and humid, often bringing thunderstorms, which are often severe to the area, with some occasionally forming landspouts and tornadoes. Eastern Colorado winters are snowy, icy, windy and bitterly cold. Temperatures have occasionally plummeted to -40 to -30 degrees Fahrenheit in extreme cold waves.[3]

History

Native Americans

Eastern Colorado was once home to many Native American tribes. The Plains Indians that lived in the region included the Arapahoe, Cheyenne, Comanche, Kiowa, Pawnee, and Sioux. [4]

Settlement

The original settlers of Eastern Colorado were German immigrants who farmed in the area. Many of the family farms in the region are still operated by the descendants of these immigrants, and German is still spoken in some areas.[5]

Population

The Eastern Colorado plains are among the most sparsely populated areas in the continental United States. Some of the region, with the exception of comparatively urban areas like Fort Morgan, are experiencing depopulation, like much of the rural Midwest, which in some areas began with the influenza pandemic of 1918 and agricultural price collapses after World War I.[6] The Dust Bowl devastated the region and further accelerated this outmigration. Kiowa County demonstrates the population decline and its associated effects.

Eastern Colorado is mainly Caucasian with German as their largest ethnicity.

Most of the people in Eastern Colorado have a Northern or Upper Midwestern accent.[7]

Parks

Both the Pawnee National Grasslands and Comanche National Grasslands are located in the Eastern Plains. They are composed of marginal farmlands that were withdrawn from agriculture and consolidated under federal control beginning in the Dust Bowl.[8]

Agriculture

Eastern Colorado is largely covered in farmland and is very agricultural, with many small farming communities. The major cash crops are corn, wheat, hay, oats, and soybeans.[9] As well as crop farming there is also significant livestock farming, including both cattle farming and hog farming. There is also a lot of dairy farming, and, poultry farming, including chicken for meat and egg production and, turkey farming. Most of the towns in the region have grain elevators and prominent water towers.[10] Also, over 90% of the farms in Eastern Colorado are family farms.[11]

Education

In Eastern Colorado most small towns have their own schools and sports teams, but in some parts where depopulation has been the worst, a single school is shared among surrounding towns. There are also a number of schools serving students in grades K-12 run by religious groups our public school districts. Eastern Colorado is one of the few remaining places in the United States with still operating one room school houses. [12]

Religion

The most prominent religion in Eastern Colorado is Christianity, with Roman Catholicism as the largest denomination. There are also a few Traditional Catholic churches in the area and throughout the Midwestern states.

Transportation

Eastern Colorado roads span the gamut from paved roads to gravel roads to dirt roads. The unpaved roads are typically county or local roads that do not receive enough traffic to be paved. Some of the major paved roads include:

See also

References


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