Promoters named the county seat (1886, 3,622 feet) for U.S. Secretary of the Interior Lucius Quintius C. Lamar in hope of procuring federal patronage for the town. The Santa Fe Railroad ran excursions to Lamar and sold $45,000 worth of land the first day. “Only five short weeks ago,” marveled The Prairie Farmerin May 1886, “only a single log building [lay] down by the cottonwood belt that fringes the stream [Arkansas River]. Today there are five and twenty buildings complete and town lots selling for $400 to $600 a piece.” Lamar emerged as the largest city on Colorado's southeastern plains, a position it still maintains with a 1990 population of 8,343.
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