Natural Gas 1930—1973
Colorado's natural-gas industry experienced a roller-coaster ride during the years from 1930 to 1973. Initially, severe economic stagnation discouraged exploration and development of gas fields. In 1941, the last year before the American economy was dramatically distorted by World War II, production remained below the levels of 1930.
There were five active natural-gas fields in Colorado during the Depression decade. The largest, the Hiawatha in northern Moffat County, shipped gas, commencing in 1929, to Salt Lake City, Ogden, and other Utah communities. That year, the Colorado portion of the field accounted for almost four-fifths of the state's output of natural gas. Other producers were the Thornburg field, also in Moffat County, discovered in 1924, but capped for several years because of a lack of markets for the gas; the Garcia and the Berthoud fields, opened, respectively, in 1924 and 1925; and the Craig dome, discovered in 1932.
Gas wells in the Garcia field, in Las Animas County near the Colorado—New Mexico line, about twenty miles southeast of Trinidad, were a source of natural gasoline. The field had been developed for local consumption in the 1890s. In the 1920s, an absorption plant stripped wet gas of gasoline, which was transported by pipeline to Barela station on the Colorado and Southern Railway, then shipped in tank cars to regional