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Overland potatoes grow deep in rich, soiled history: Kenny Be's Hip Tip

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Montana City, the area's first platted township, was founded in September 1858 on the east banks of the South Platte river near West Evans Avenue. The following spring, the cabins were dismantled and floated downriver to be rebuilt at the confluence of Cherry Creek. Rufus "Potato" Clark then homesteaded the area to grow vegetables for prospectors pouring into the boomtown of Denver... As illustrated on the Denver Neighborhood Seed Company packet shown above, it was not just potato farming that brought prosperity to the Overland neighborhood; it was also horse racing, golfing and motor camping.

In 1882, Rufus Clark leased seventy-acres of his potato farm to real-estate promoters, who built a race track and grandstands. In 1896, bachelor businessman Henry Wolcott bought the failing Overland Racetrack to build Denver's first golf course. Wolcott's private golf club was so popular with Denver's elite that it was moved it to a larger location at East First Avenue and University and renamed the Denver Country Club in 1902.

The City of Denver bought the Overland Racetrack in 1919 and turned it into the Overland Park auto camp to welcome the new wave of transcontinental travelers, who were driving privately owned cars instead of vacationing by train. As the Great Depression set in and Overland Park turned into a hobo slum, Denver plowed up the motor camp to make way for a city golf course.

While Overland development changes with the times, the rich soil below ground remains perfect for potato production. The Overland potato is the ideal empire builder for small gardens. High-yielding and delicious, russet-skinned Overland potatoes mature early and are perfect for baking and broiling.

Find the Denver Neighborhood Seed Company Seed Packet for your neighborhood: 16th Street Mall Swiss Chard, Alamo Placita arugula, Athmar Park fennel, Baker green peas, Bear Valley Watercress, Belcaro broccoli rabe, Berkeley broccoli, Capitol Hill Cannabis indica, Cheesman cucumber, City Park celery, Clayton sweet potato, Cole pole bean, Congress Park cauliflower, Country Club cabbage, East Colfax okra, Elyria-Swansea heirloom tomato, Five Points beets, Globeville eggplant, Hale kale, Highland Hops, Lincoln Park Asparagus, Mar Lee sweeties cherry tomatoes, Marston crookneck squash, North Capitol Hill carrot, Park Hill pumpkin, Ruby Hill habenero, Sloan Lake purple pop top turnip, South Platte Onion, Stapleton Brussels sprout, Sun Valley horseradish, Sunnyside sunflower, University Hills parsnip, Valverde tomatillo, Wash Park condo corn, Washington Virginia Vale watermelon, West Colfax kohlrabi, Westwood zucchini, and Windsor cantaloupe.

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


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