Museum of Northwest Colorado: Mack Lane named after Craig’s first settler | CraigDailyPress.com
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Museum of Northwest Colorado: Mack Lane named after Craig’s first settler

Mary Pat Dunn/For the Saturday Morning Press
John and Effie Mack
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Mack Lane, a short stretch of road way extending from Victory Way to First Street in Craig, earned its name in a straightforward manner. It was the lane upon which John Mack, who was Craig’s true first settler, lived.

John Mack, born in 1857 in Germany, wanted to avoid the abusive military conscription, which had dealt so harshly with some of his family members following the Austro-Prussian War of 1866. He emigrated to the United States at the age of 16 working in Ohio before drifting west. In March 1875, having traveled throughout Wyoming and Colorado, he settled on river bottom land southwest of the yet-to be platted Craig town site.

When Mack arrived, the only other non-native resident people in the area at that time were cattlemen. These cattle barons were mostly absentia business-ranchmen who had no intention on settling permanently in the region. They owned huge outfits that ran cattle on the valley grasses later moving on to other ranges.

Mack eventually filed for his homestead papers in 1882 when this area finally opened up for homesteading; he received his land deed in 1890. His first real neighbor in the vicinity was William Rose who settled on Fortification Creek in 1883. In 1894 Mack married “newcomer” Effie Wooley who had moved to the area one year earlier. John and Effie had three children, all boys; George, Elmer and John, Jr.

In 1918, Mack built a cement house to replace his original log cabin. That house, along with Mack’s first horse barn and part of the homestead log cabin, still stand today. John Mack lived on his homestead until his death at age 88 in 1945. He remained active up until the final five years of his life when he became somewhat crippled by injuries suffered when he was younger.

The Mack family still owns the homestead land and is still involved in agricultural activities. The family has had its share of struggles to maintain the original homestead land across the decades. The land was split in two by the railroad when tracks were built to the mines and power plant south of Craig. Later the city of Craig wanted to condemn some of the Mack land for their waste water ponds. Compromises were made, and with a few changes, the family still maintains almost the same land area that John settled 141 years and six generations ago.

Building a solid reputation as strong contributors to the local agricultural community, the Mack family has maintained its deeply rooted community ties throughout the past 15 decades. That commitment in itself is worth a name on a street sign. Numerous descendants of John Mack still reside in Moffat County today, carrying on the reputation and validity of the value of agriculture as a mainstay for the region.

The Museum of Northwest Colorado, located in downtown Craig, is committed to documenting the local history that makes Craig so special. Take time to visit the museum and share in the pride that newcomers and old-timers alike find in living in this wildly beautiful region called Northwest Colorado. The museum is open Monday through Saturday with free admission.The Museum of Northwest Colorado, located in downtown Craig, is committed to documenting the local history that makes Craig so special. Take time to visit the museum and share in the pride that newcomers and old-timers alike find in living in this wildly beautiful region called Northwest Colorado. The museum is open Monday through Saturday with free admission. The Museum of Northwest Colorado, located in downtown Craig, is committed to documenting the local history that makes Craig so special. Take time to visit the museum and share in the pride that newcomers and old-timers alike find in living in this wildly beautiful region called Northwest Colorado. The museum is open Monday through Saturday with free admission.


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