Museum of Northwest Colorado: Centennial awards for ranchers, farmers |

Museum of Northwest Colorado: Centennial awards for ranchers, farmers

Mary Pat Dunn, Museum of Northwest Colorado Registrar
The old Vassek home languishes in the shade of a Russian olive tree on the family homestead north of Elkhead Reservoir. This homestead is one of many in Moffat County that might be eligible for the coveted Colorado Centennial Farm designation.

When the first passenger train arrived in Craig in 1913, it signaled the start of a fresh influx of homesteaders who brought with them not only household possessions and livestock, but also hopes for establishing themselves firmly in a new land. Czechoslovakian-born Ignatz Vassek arrived with his wife Roza and their children around 1913, and they settled above present day Elkhead Reservoir. Vassek was naturalized about the time of his coming to Craig. His involvement in local civic affairs reflected the value he placed on his citizenship in his adopted homeland, and he remained active until the time of his death in 1946.

Having just celebrated the railroad’s centennial in Craig last October, the Museum of Northwest Colorado knows that there are a number of area family ranches that are now, or soon will be, eligible for the Colorado Centennial Farm designation. The large droves of homesteaders who flocked to Moffat County in the 1910s resulted in quite a few families who were tenacious enough to withstand the myriad perils that faced anyone attempting to carve a new life in this challenging area.

The museum would love to help those eligible ranch families achieve the coveted Centennial award. To qualify, a nominee ranch must have been in the same family continuously for 100 years or more. The property must be a working farm or ranch and have a minimum of 160 acres, or, if less, gross at least $1,000 in annual sales.

To learn more about the Colorado Centennial Farm program, go to and look information about Centennial Farm program. If you have questions about this designation, you can contact History Colorado staff at 303-HISTORY (303-447-8679) or call the Museum of Northwest Colorado at 970-824-6360. In our fast-paced world, longevity in the farming/ranching arena is something to be celebrated and cherished. The museum salutes the Vassek family members who still live in our area, and contribute to so many facets of our community life. Indeed, a salute goes out to all those families and individuals who have so generously given of themselves over the years to make our town and county all that they can be.

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