National Geographic : 1932 Jul
COLORADO, A BARRIER THAT BECAME A GOAL A NATURAL BRIDGE IN THE MAKING In the eroded country in and near the Colorado National Monument are many natural bridges in various stages of formation. Such bridges are usually carved from cliffs by "pot holes" or cave-ins, which work down from above into shallow caves. Torrents, with minor aid from winds, wear the holes larger, and after many centuries the bridge may stand far from its parent cliff. When the water drained away, Pueblo faced a discouraging situation for any city of 43,000 inhabitants. Some pessimistic residents said the town was "through" might as well be abandoned. But the pio neer spirit came into action, as it has so often in Colorado. The governor called a special session of the legislature, a flood conservancy district was created, and bonds were sold. With the money Pueblo rebuilt her devastated section and constructed flood-prevention works of such excellence that they are visited by engineers from all over the world. The river has been shorn of its kinks and shoved a quarter mile away from its old location, kept in place by a deep, smooth channel wall of concrete. Six miles above the city a heavy concrete barrier has been built across the river valley-a massive dam with a narrow gap left open. Behind the barrier half the water in Colorado could pile up harmlessly, to be fed automatically into the river channel at a reasonable rate until all of it drained away. With the flood problem solved, Pueblo has forged ahead steadily. Along the Arkansas Valley for 50 miles above Pueblo and for nearly 200 miles downstream stretches another of Colo rado's important irrigation domains: more than half a million acres of fruit and hay and sugar beets, vegetables, and flowers. In this valley is Rocky Ford, famous the world around for its cantaloupes. Motoring down the Arkansas in late summer, one passes beside fields of zinnias and marigolds that aggregate many hun dreds of acres. They are grown for their seed, which are shipped to all parts of the world. For garden-seed production the Arkansas Valley is one of the most impor tant areas in the United States. Midway in Colorado's north-south string of important cities is Colorado Springs, the State's third largest urban center. In summer Colorado Springs' 33,000 popu lation is nearly doubled by visitors, for about it are concentrated unusual scenic features.