Help us preserve Colorado history, small town style! The Eaton Area Historical Society volunteers manage the local house museum located in the historic home of A. J. Eaton, the son of pioneer Benjamin Eaton. After a wonderfully successful recent fund raising campaign to build a replica carriage house behind the museum, we have been able to exhibit a greater part of our collections, which include local military items dating back to the Spanish-American war. The Eaton Area Historical Society commonly receives research requests from throughout the US. In addition, local school groups and various civic and social organizations request programs. With this in mind, looking forward we are excited to focus on research and the development of educational and other public programs.
An annual funds campaign is not as exciting as a capital campaign, perhaps, but it is tremendously important to raise adequate funds on an annual basis to build on the momentum of our wonderfully successful building project. We are now ready to begin the process of connecting our 150+ years of regional history with the technologies of the present and future. In addition to cataloguing all the historical materials in the museum's collections, we are currently working with the Eaton public library (also located in an historic building) and the Town of Eaton in the early stages of locating and identifying materials specific to our history that are not housed at the museum. This will also help to identify gaps in the local historical record, such as missing editions of the local newspaper, which we plan to try to find. The end goal of this process will be digitizing and online storage of these materials to be available for future public access.
The first tasks toward this ambitious goal are establishing appropriate internet connectivity and the creation of a state-of-the-art work station in the accessioning room in the loft of the Carriage House. Our annual find drive for 2022 will contribute significantly to achieving this. As of Sept 1st, members and donors have brought us to within 81% of our 2022 goal. We are counting on Colorado Gives Day to bring us to the finish line!
The Eaton Area Historical Society was established in 1991 by the Eaton Pioneers Society. It has as its mission the preservation and sharing of the history of the region and its pioneers. EAHS recognizes much of the value of history is found in the bridging the past to the future and strives to connect people with regional history in every way we can.
Our hometown of Eaton, Colorado was named after Benjamin Harrison Eaton (1833–1904), an American politician, entrepreneur and agriculturalist who was instrumental in the establishment of modern irrigation farming in Northern Colorado. He served as the fourth Governor of Colorado, with the nickname of the “farmer governor.” Eaton expanded his operations from farming into contracting, specializing in the building of irrigation canals and reservoirs, a business he heavily promoted as a means of bringing growth and wealth to Larimer and Weld Counties.
In 1878, he began construction of the Larimer and Weld Canal, once known as the Eaton Ditch. At the time, it was the largest and longest irrigation canal in the state, stretching seventy miles long and irrigating 20,000 acres of land between Fort Collins and Greeley.
In 1879, Eaton built the High Line Canal in Denver for a group of British investors. He later built the Windsor Reservoir near present-day Windsor, and well as many other smaller water projects throughout Larimer and Weld counties.
Eaton's irrigation systems are still in use today and continue to provide valuable water to a large regional faming community.
•The Eaton Area Historical Society was able to acquire local historical landmark the A.J. Eaton Home and opened it as the local museum in 2004.
•Historic designation for the house with the National Register of Historic Places was applied for in January, 2006 and granted in April, 2006.A unique arrangement with the City of Eaton, Pat (Simmonds) Boegli, and the Shelton Fund has allowed the Historical Society volunteers, along with generous donations of memorabilia, pictures, artifacts, records, scrap-books, household pieces, and much more, to preserve the history and life of the early Eaton, Colorado pioneers.
•Thanks to a very successful fundraising campaign, the Eaton Area Historical Society was able to construct a replica Carriage House behind the A. J. Eaton Home. The Carriage House was dedicated on Colorado Day—August 1, 2021. It now contains the Military Collection, a small school room, and a loft space for storage, accessioning and research.