Butte City: 1886

Boston wasn’t quite the first in the east end as this part of Las Animas county as it was then
called. Butte City was started in June 1886; we believe that less than half a dozen houses were built
there when it was abandoned and the houses moved over to Minneapolis, started a few miles west of it in
the summer of 1887.
– Konkel, Sam. “Persons, Stories and Incidents of Old Boston and the Old Days.” Springfield Herald January 11, 1918

The earliest news mention I have found of Butte City was this St. Louis Post-Dispatch hotel listing showing G. F. Neal of Butte City Colo in St. Louis February 1886.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, Missouri) 20 Feb 1886.
The Syracuse Journal (Syracuse, Kansas) 21 May 1886.
Border Ruffian (Coolidge, Kansas) 19 Jun 1886.

Below are a couple of items of a name familiar to present day Baca County.

Pratt County Press (Luka, Kansas) 02 Sep 1886.
Garden City Daily Herald (Garden City, Kansas) 20 Aug 1886.
Crill & Bowdle Stage Line – coach is enroute from Butte City to Granada – Winter 1886-89. John Bowdle is driving. This was the first transportation company in Baca County. (Photo courtesy of James Crill)

Note: We have transcribed the letter (left) to help the readability. The letter was published in Alton Evening Telegraph (Alton, Illinois) 14 Sept 1886.
Editor Telegraph: As I promised you a letter viewing the “promised land,” Butte City, Colorado,I have now the opportunity of fulfilling the promise. After skirmishing around awhile on Thursday last, at Grenada, we succeeded in finding a person to take us and two other parties who were on their way to Butte, so at 8 p. m. we started. The country from Grenada, on the Sante Fe rail-road, south to our objective point is a beautiful rolling prairie, here and there dotted with groves or timber on the streams not a single steep hill, the entire route gently rolling. The soil for the first half of the distance is a whitish looking soil, but after crossing Butte creek, seventeen miles out, it becomes much darker, the banks of Butte creek are lined with a very fair quality of stone of the limestone formation. We stopped on the banks of Butte creek to eat our lunch and quench our thirst with the finest spring water.
When we were within about eight miles of our destination, we were halted by a party of movers, one of whom inquired how far it was to Butte City, said he was a brother of a Mr. Boorstor, who lives in the coming city of Southeastern Colorado, and wished us to inform his brother that he would be in in the morning. This was encouraging, to see people with their effects on the way to our new town. At about 8 o’clock In the morning sure enough here came our new settler. There is not a finer looking piece of country anywhere, perfectly free from rock excepting on the banks of the stream. This was an agreeable disappointment to me, as I anticipated seeing some rock almost any where in Colorado, but not so in this southeastern part of the State. The country, when settled up, will compare well with the best part of Kansas.
There are now six houses, the seventh building. Timber claims are being located daily; perhaps some of your readers may not understand what a timber claim means. “Congress passed an Act to encourage the growth of timber on the western prairies bearing date June 14, 1878, providing that a person, either a natural born citizen of the United States, or a person who has taken out his papers, may, on filing his papers at the District Land Office, first signing and making
affidavit as to qualification before mentioned, paying the fees, $14, and at the end of the first year having plowed five acres, and at the end of the second an additional five acres and at the and at the fourth year, having put out the ten acres in trees, he can, at the end of eight years, get a patent for the land, 160 acres, and it is not necessary to live on the land nor to do this yourself, but it can be done by anyone for you. Now here is a chance for some of your fellow citizens to obtain a quarter section of good land at a very small outlay, simply going to Grenada, Colo., making the necessary affidavit before a Notary, paying the $14 land office fees, and plowing five acres the first, and five acres more the second, and having the ten acres set out in trees by the end of the fourth year, and at the end of the eighth year paying the final proof fee of $10, when a patent for the land is issued. Come on, and we will see you fixed up. Will let you hear more from Butte City at no distant date.

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