Granada, Colorado

At the same time, the town of Granada wanted to grow and local businessmen asked Fred Harvey if he would sell some of his lands so that the town could expand. However, Harvey declined and the businessmen decided to move the entire town three miles to the west. The Bent County Town Company purchased the new site in April 1886. Not only were many of the buildings moved from the old site but the surveyors borrowed the plat. In the meantime, the site of Old Granada was also sold to the XY Ranch. Today, there are no remains of the once flourishing town.

New Granada

XY Ranch, Colorado

XY Ranch, Colorado

The post office moved with the rest of the town and the railroad station remained at Old Grenada on the XY Ranch. At that point, the Santa Fe Railroad renamed the station Adana. The town fathers suggested that the Santa Fe Railroad officials move the station from Old Grenada to New Granada. However, when the railroad demanded 51% of all unsold lots and 51% of the money already received on lot sales in the new town, the town leaders refused. As a result, the Santa Fe Railroad established a station at Lamar, Colorado in 1886.

The First National Bank of Granada was the first bank in the area and the first hotel, known as Mim’s House, was opened in 1886. One of the first orders of business for the town, was to establish a school. A seldom-used schoolhouse east of Granada on the XY Ranch was moved to the new site of Granada. After it was moved, it was added on to and the first teacher was C.O. Barton. The “new” town was incorporated in July 1887 and the Santa Fe Railroad installed a train station in September.

For a few years, the new town of Granada continued its frontier ways with a number of saloons and frequent gunplay.

In 1889, Prowers County was formed from Bent County, and though Granada vied for the title, it went to Lamar instead.

Entering Granada, Colorado today, by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

Entering Granada, Colorado today, by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

In 1893, two major fires destroyed most of the business district. Most of the buildings involved had been moved from Old Granada. Many of the business owners who were burned out chose not to rebuild and moved away.

The Colorado Telephone Company constructed a telephone exchange in March 1903 and by June, 50 phones were working in the town. The same year, Granada’s first high school was built.

Another fire, that started in the Exchange Saloon, destroyed the business district in September 1910.

By 1917, two railroads were passing through the Arkansas River Valley — the Santa Fe to the south of the river and the Arkansas Valley Railroad to the north of the river. U.S. Highway 50 was paved through the area in 1940.

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, during World War II, the US government began relocating Japanese Americans, especially those on the West Coast, to inland internment camps. The Amache Camp, one of ten camps across the country, opened on August 27, 1942, just southwest of Granada. It was named Camp Amache in honor of Amache Ochinee Prowers, the Cheyenne wife of John W. Prowers, for whom the county was named. By September 30, 1942, the center was full with a population of 7,318 citizens. The 60-acre camp was self-supporting and included a post office, fire station, police, schools, churches, a movie theater, and a 150-bed hospital. The Amache residents lived in military-style barracks with rudimentary furnishings and ate together in cafeterias. Adjacent to the camp was a 10,000-acre farm for raising livestock and produce.

Amache Japaneze Internment Camp in Granada, Colorado

Amache Japanese Internment Camp in Granada, Colorado

Upon the detainees’ arrivals, they often described the camp as “barren,” “stark,” and “desolate”. The setting was very different from that which they had left in California, and one evacuee recalled:

“When I first saw Granada, I thought ‘My God, is this it, or is this just another rest stop.’ I had never seen such a desolate place in all my life. There just seemed to be no one living there. But after a while, I realized there wouldn’t be anyone there to hassle us like they did back home, so that part of it would be okay.”

In January 1945 the detainment order expired, and most detainees left the facility by October. Amache officially closed on January 27, 1946, its buildings were auctioned off, and the agricultural lands reverted to private farming and ranching.

The Amache site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in May 1994 and designated a National Historic Landmark in February 2006. Today there is little evidence of the once thriving community that added to Granada’s existence. The Amache Museum, which interprets the camp, is located at 105 East Goffand in Granada and open during the summer. Here, a map and brochure can be picked up for self-guided driving tours of Amache. At the site, the buildings are gone and grass grows over the barracks foundations. Interpretive signs, a small memorial, and the camp cemetery are all that remain of this once busy camp.

Granada, Colorado today, Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

Granada, Colorado today, Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

Afterward, and continuing through today, Granada became a quiet agricultural community. Today, it is called home to just about 500 people. Many of its business buildings stand empty, testifying to more prosperous times.

©Kathy Weiser-Alexander

Also See:

Granada-Fort Union Military Road

Mountain Branch of the Santa Fe Trail

Santa Fe Trail – Highway to the Southwest

Santa Fe Trail in Colorado

Amache Internment Camp in Granada, Colorado today by Carol Highsmith.

Amache Internment Camp in Granada, Colorado today by Carol Highsmith.

Sources:

52 Ancestors

American Local History Network

Central Washington University

National Park Service

Work Progress Administration, Colorado, a Guide to the Highest State, 1941

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