Elbert County was created by the 10th territorial Legislature on Feb. 13, 1874. The newly created county consisted of the northern portion of Greenwood County, all land east to the Kansas state line, and a portion of Douglas County. Elbert County was named for Colorado Gov. Samuel H. Elbert. In the beginning, Elbert County did not have a smooth coexistence with one of its neighboring counties. There was a debate between Douglas and Elbert counties over the division of properties - 18 chairs, two stoves, a leg iron and three pairs of handcuffs. No one today knows how this disagreement was resolved. The county kept its original shape until April 11, 1889, when the state legislature divided Elbert inro four separate entities: Lincoln County, Kit Carson County, Cheyenne County, and of course, Elbert County. Elbert's boundaries remain the same, with Arapahoe County bordering on the north; Douglas and El Paso counties on the west; Linclon County on the east, and Lincoln and El Paso counties on the south. Kiowa Legend has it that Kiowa was founded when men, fearing an Indian raid, sold hay to Henry Wendling and George Fahrion that they had been stacking at the bottom of the creek. Kiowa, which is named for the Kiowa Indians, was first known as "Wendling," for Henry Wendling, its first settler. Wendling ran the stage station which lay ground for the town of Kiowa in 1859. In 1860, Kiowa had two settlers, and by 1884 its population had grown to 150. The town became divided when the government put an end to the open range. According to Mabel Whitehead, ranchers became angry when farmers began fencing and plowing the prairies. It Made it diffucult for the ranchers' cattle to graze in the manner to which they were accustomed. Ranchers began burning the prairies in hopes of getting the farmers to move, she said. "But it didn't work," she added. "We'd just put the fire out." To resolve the conflict, ranchers lived on one side of the town and farmers on the other. Kiowa was named county seat of Elbert County in 1874, but not without a scandal. Reportedly, the residents of Elizabeth, Kiowa and Elbert all wanted the honor of being named county seat. Kiowa citizens however, led the others to believe they were no longer interested in the honor and before Elizabeth and Elbert citizens could decide who should get the honor, Kiowa had built a courthouse and was holding court
In the early 1890's, towns claimed fame through gold, the railroad, or its proximity to large cities. Simla citizens however, claim their town acquired international fame through determined young athlete Glenn Morris. According to Margee Gabehart, author of "The History of Elbert County" and resident of Elbert County, Morris, although teased and taunted by his peers, went on to become the 1936 Olympic decathlon champion at the Berlin games. Morris, being somewhat of an old-day "Rocky," had a unique way of training. Chasing, and many times catching, rabbits and rounding up horses on foot prepared Morris for his athletic career. The only real equipment Morris had was an old discus and shot given to him by his high school coach. Morris later went on to star in the film "Tarzan." Simla may have gotten fame from Morris, but its name came from the daughter of a railroad official. She had been reading a book about India in which the name appeared and noticed the printing on the siding of a passing railroad car had the same name, thus rendering the town Simla. Although the town was settled in the 1880's, it was not incorporated until 1912. According to the "Simla Reporter", the town's first newspaper, which was established in 1911, Simla had been the center shipping point for the potato harvest. By 1959, Simla had grown from a saloon, a reestaurant and a real estate office, to a town with everything from well-drilling companies to a beauty shop
For many years, Agate had only two residential homes, the Peppel ranch and the Sultz house, and one store. some people say the store was named Agate, and therefore people began calling the town Agate. Another version of the name's creation is that Union Pacific Trail, which led to town and passed just above Peterson's Dam, had "a gate" that people went through to reach the town - once again giving rise to the name Agate. Still, others claim the name came from the large amount of Chalcedony Agate found in the area. Agate began to grow in 1918 when ranchers began to homestead the land. The first building was a garage, followed by Agate State Bank. The Beuck School was the first school in the area, built in 1885 by August Beuck for his son Fred A Bueck. The school was not in the town of Agate, but on thee Beuck ranch. Students were graded on the following scale: H for high, G for good, A for average, f for fair and P for poor. The grading scale has since changed and the school is no longer used to teach children, but rather, to store memories
Elbert County was incorporated on February 13, 1874. It was much larger at that time extending from its present western border clear to the Kansas state line. It was made from Douglas and Greenwood Counties. Elbert County was named for Colorado Governor, Samuel H. Elbert. In 1889, Cheyenne, Kit Carson and Lincoln Counties were created out of the large Elbert County area.
There are 1,854 square miles of land area in Elbert County. It is at the base of the Rocky Mountains.
Elevation range: 5,000 - 7,350 feet above sea level
Elbert County goes for over 50 miles east to west.
Elbert's first settlers arrived in 1859. Many of these came seeking gold and riches, but fell in love with the open prairies and rolling hills and decided to stay!