NAME: Iliff
CLIMATE: Has all four seasons
BEST TIME TO VISIT: Spring, summer or fall, winter is to cold
COMMENTS: Iliff is located 12 miles northeast of Sterling on U.S. Highway 6 or two miles north off of I-76 12 miles northeast of Sterling. Although there are still a few residents living in the town itself, the business section is almost all abandoned. There is a bar and a garage still operating. There are two large reservoirs in the area that provide superb warm water fishing, boating, camping in the spring, summer and fall. North Sterling and Jumbo reservoirs are both within easy driving distance from town. In the fall, waterfowl and upland gamebird hunting is terrific with plenty of public lands available in the area. Along this section of the South Platte River it is said that more species of wildlife can be found per square mile here than in any other part of the state of Colorado. So, wildlife viewing and photographic opportunities are fantastic. Lots of fun stuff to do in the area. Camping at the reservoirs or motels are available in Sterling.
REMAINS: Almost all of the old business buildings still standing but vacant.
The history of Iliff dates back to the days of 1881 when the railroad came through Logan County and a siding station was put at this point. The land surrounding Iliff was an immense cattle range in the early 1870's. Log before there was a town the place was named in honor of J.W. Iliff who headquartered his huge ranch just below where the town now stands. He built his ranch headquarters about the year 1875. (It should be noted that James Michener, in his novel, CENTENNIAL, patterned his ranch in the book after the Iliff ranch. He called it the Veneford. In fact, Mr. Michener spent a lot of time in and around the Iliff area doing research for his novel.) Thr range of this ranch was one of the largest in the entire west ranging from Cheyenne, Wyoming east to Julesburg, Colorado with a southern boundary very close to where Highway 14 heads west out of Sterling all the way to Ft. Collins, Colorado. In 1885, 500 railroad cars were filled with cattle and shipped east from this point and all of the cattle were from the Iliff ranch. From 1883 to 1885 the Iliff and Platte Valley irrigation ditch was constructed to irrigate the rich farmland along the Platte. Land at that time sold for $500 to $1000 per SECTION! January 6, 1887, Iliff was platted and registered with the state by Andrew Sagendorf. A school district was organized two years before that and the first teacher was paid $40.00 a month. There isn't a school located in town now.The first building and business errected was a post office and real estate office by Charles McMillan and another fellow whose first name was Wells. Dave Ayres and Fred Elson built a grocery store and George Butler started a lumber yard. By 1908 there there were numerous businesses including a bank holding over $1,000,000.00 in assets. The main business in town still was the stockyards. By 1918 farming replaced cattle ranching as the main industry with sugar beets and alfalfa the two main crops. In 1910 the Iliff Independent Newspaper was started. Before the paper folded but held two editors,E.N. Heaton in 1911 and W.L. Strictland in 1912. As Sterling slowly became the business hub of the region the various business in Iliff closed their doors never to open again. Submitted by: Jay S. Warburton

The businesses along Highway 6
Courtesy Jay Warburton

The main street in town showing the town well with the abandoned bank building in the background. (September, 2000)
Courtesy Jay Warburton

The town well is still used today as a main drinking water source because almost all of the other water sources in the area are super hard.
Courtesy Jay Warburton