A History of Irrigation in the Arkansas River Valley in Western Kansas, 1880-1910
University of Kansas
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One of the important adjustments made by the settlers of the High Plains to their new environment was the introduction of irrigation agriculture. Among the earliest and most important centers of this development was the Arkansas River Valley of western Kansas, in particular the community around Garden City, Kansas. This history attempts to relate the development of irrigation in the Arkansas Valley through its formative years, 1880-1910. The term "Arkansas River Valley" as used here refers to that portion of the valley of the Arkansas in the Counties of Hamilton, Kearny, Finney, Gray, and Ford, and the adjacent uplands which were influenced by the practice of irrigation. Statistitcs generally refer to those counties unless otherwise stated. The author is indebted to his advisor, Dr. George L. Anderson, who suggested the topic and provided guidance and encouragement toward its completion. Most of the research was done in the Kansas State Historical Society whose staff was most understanding and helpful. Among the many friends of irrigation in western Kansas special thanks are due to Mr. Clyde Beymer of Lakin who furnished abstracts to the South Side, Great Eastern, and Amazon Ditches, Mr. Edward Dekeiser of Deerfield who loaned a large plat of the Amazon Canal, the Garden City law firm of Calahan, Green, Calahan, and High and to their secretary Mrs. Luava Golightly (who is also secretary of the Finney County Water Users' Association) who provided free access to the Records of the Water Users' Association. Thanks are also due to the county officials in Hamilton, Kearny, Finney, Gray, and Ford Counties who provided assistance in locating and copying local records.
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