Bringing Dearfield to Life through Science and History

A session by Dr. Robert Brunswig, Dr. James Doerner, Dr. George Junne and Jay Trask
University of Northern Colorado, University of Northern Colorado, University of Northern Colorado and University of Northern Colorado

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Themes covered by this session

About this session

Saving and interpreting historic resources of underrepresented resources is critically important and the work done at Dearfied demonstrates efforts currently underway. Located near Greely, CO, Dearfield Colony is an African-American farming colony first founded in 1910 by Boulder-based businessman, O.T. Jackson. While much of the site today has been lost with only a few historic buildings standing, efforts to record and preserve this important place ensure its future. This session will look at Individual and collective research efforts to document and reconstruct Dearfield are discussed by four presenters who will provide updates on their individual research programs and current status of results that are being integrated into a comprehensive interpretive model of the colony and townsites socio-cultural landscape history. The research described by session presenters is an integral component of the decade-long Dearfield Dream Project which integrates leading-edge historical and archaeological research with a simultaneous program of Dearfield townsite historic building protection and stabilization activities designed to culminate in the eventual restoration of selected historic site structures.
The African American farming colony of Dearfield was founded in 1910 by Boulder-based businessman, O.T. Jackson, in central Weld County. The colony’s farms and two towns, Dearfield and Chapelton, grew and flourished through the mid-1920s until national economic decline and onset of drought conditions led to its nearly complete abandonment by Black farmers and homesteaders by 1930. The past decade has been a period of accelerating historical and archaeological research on the Dearfield townsite, with expanding emphasis on the integration of historical photo evidence with advanced detection and visual recording technologies, including magnetometry, ground-penetrating radar, three-dimensional laser scanning, and aerial drone imaging, the central theme of this session.