Blink while driving on Highway 34 east of Greeley, Colorado, and you might miss the former Great Plains town of Dearfield.
Abandoned towns from the early 20th century are far from unique on this stretch of plains. Withered storefronts and collapsed false-front homes are common. Boom and bust economics and harsh weather made it tough for turn of the century settlers to succeed long-term.
Few ghost towns, however, have all the elements that make Dearfield’s story so compelling today: larger than life characters, struggles to live off the land, tales of racial integration at the height of the Jim Crow era.