Kiowa looks so much like the typical high plains county seat that it is sometimes frightening. When approaching from the west the town first appears from behind a hill as you follow highway 86 down into the watershed of Kiowa Creek. (What a creative name.) The town spread along the hillside on the other side of the creek, a town of about 400 people.

There is the green topped water tank on its four supports, with the big words "KIOWA, CO" emblazoned on the side. And the biggest building in town is the brick county court house, erected sometime near the turn of the 20th century. If you actually stop and go inside there are creaking wooden floors and big doors with ancient locks. My sister actually got herself locked into an empty courtroom by accident, and the key had been lost for decades. Most of my memories of the town revolve around having to go that court house for some business, like getting new license plates for a truck or jury duty, with a parent.

There is a small high school, a branch of the Elbert County Library, and the virtually never open Elbert County Museum in the old High School. There is the usual set of quiet stores lining the wide route of the highway through town. Nothing particularly touristy yet though. It just is not on any tourist routes, though the highway is quite scenic to both the east and west.

Like so many county seats in the west it had to fight for the honor. Little local wars were often fought between groups because being the county seat usually meant the town would grow, and that meant money to landowners. It was moved back and forth between Elizabeth and Elbert several times before it finally settled in Kiowa.

The town was named for the Kiowa Indians that used to hunt in the area. Of course it is the usual irony that the settlers would name their town after a tribe that they evicted. The area was home to both the Kiowa and the Cheyenne Tribe.

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