The Settlement of Westcliffe, Colorado
By Irene Francis on February 4, 2014
The question: What were the names of the families that settled in Westcliffe and what year was that?
Rosita, Ula, Querida, Silver Cliff, were names of towns that were settled before Westcliffe. Groups of people had gathered across the Wet Mountain Valley (WMV) for Ranching, Mining, and Farming. Railroad service was essential to the prosperity of any early community. General Palmer and the Denver and Rio Grande Railroads were ready to meet those needs. The construction of the D&RG Railroad into the WMV began in 1880 with narrow gauge tracks along Grape Creek. Land was bought around the terminus by Dr. Bell, a partner of General Palmer then sold in lots that were incorporated into the town named Westcliffe in 1887. In 1901 the narrow gauge track railroad was replaced with the standard railroad entering the town, making it even more the center of commerce. As the ore gave out in the mines around the larger towns of Rosita, Querida and Silver Cliff, depleting their population, folks who had first settled in those areas of Custer County moved into Westcliffe.
Families with the surname Falkenberg, Adams, Baker, Austin, Schoolfield, Koch, Knuth, Hartbauer, Kelling, Rankin, Menzel. Even today some of those names can be heard spoken in the town.