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Colorado's southwesternmost city has perpetually verged on all that is desirable in the American Southwest for tourism, recreation, and high-desert living. Cortez is surrounded by scenic mountains and red-rock canyons, Anasazi archaeological sites and a varied Native American heritage, and a sunny climate. Yet for centuries, rugged landscapes and lack of water made communication, transportation, and commerce difficult. Residents developed a fierce self-reliance. Area farmers received a boost when the Dolores River was diverted in 1889 by the nearly unimaginable man-and-mule-hewn Great Cut and a 5,400-foot-long irrigation tunnel. Cortez's hardscrabble growth found additional relief in the 1950s due to the Four Corners gas and oil boom. Congressman Wayne Aspinall helped establish the Dolores Water Conservancy District in 1961, construction of McPhee Dam on the Dolores River began in 1978, and finally in 1986, Montezuma Valley obtained a reliable water supply. Lake McPhee provides water for farms, families, and enterprises and adds to local beauty and recreation.
ISBN: 9780738574745
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing
State: Colorado
Series: Images of America
Images: 215
Pages: 128
Dimensions: 6.5 (w) x 9.25 (h)
Authors Vila Schwindt, Janet Weeth, and Dale Davidson have all been captivated by the Four Corners culture and landscapes and the enduring little city that could. Weeth and Davidson are Southwestern archaeologists, and Schwindt is a writer/editor with a background in graphic design.
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