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One Man's Dream - Victor Weed

Kiowa County Independent

Sometimes, on the High Plains of Eastern Colorado, it’s easy to forget that the first day of spring falls in the month of March. Anyone familiar with the region understands why this is so. It’s during March that the biggest winter storms have, on occasion, landed like a sledgehammer on the broad expanse of prairie, testing the most optimistic heart that yearns for the beauty of spring, only to see snow clouds rolling in from the west that ultimately dump a hefty load of the wet and heavy stuff. Yet, despite the sudden blizzards that can wreak such havoc in so many ways, the reality remains that the first day of spring does come and with it the promise—delayed though it may be—of the bounty new possibilities can bring.

Originally named for the wells in the caves that those tribes who first inhabited the region carved out of the limestone banks of the headwaters of the Smoky Hill River, Cheyenne Wells was built on the belief that hard work and determination would yield reward in this untamed land. Against the backdrop of this frontier spirit, it seems more than fitting that March is such a significant month in the history of a somewhat small but ever sturdy town.

On March 3, 1870—one hundred and forty nine years ago—the Kansas Pacific Railroad finally reached the site that would grow into the town of Cheyenne Wells. The arrival of the Kansas Pacific officially put an end to the perpetually doomed attempts to have a successful stagecoach line through the sometimes unforgiving landscape. It also established a future for the town and its 695 residents.

That future became even more of a certainty when, twenty years later Cheyenne Wells was officially incorporated as a town on March 14, 1890.

Fifty-four years after that, on March 9th, 1944, a new business opened up in a small office facing the Court House Square, giving birth to a relationship with both the people and the businesses of the community. Within a year, the business had outgrown that small office and a new location on Fenner Avenue was purchased. There, the business continued to operate for the next 25 years until it was decided that a new building would be built. And so it was at the location on East 1st Street where it continues to operate today.

That first day, that first step was taken seventy-five years ago when Eastern Colorado Bank first opened its doors. This article, the first in a series, is a celebration of those years and will tell the tale of the realization of one man’s dream and how he, and those to follow, helped the dreams of others to become real, as well.