Updated: Aug 3, 2022
Shoenberg Farms was built in 1911, during the presidency of the 27th President of the United States, William Howard Taft. At this time, there was a minor economic depression occurring called The Panic of 1910-1911. The Panic occurred shortly after the Sherman Antitrust Act was enforced. The Sherman Antitrust Act was enacted to regulate the competition among enterprises. The goal was to try and avoid monopolies and a failure of the market itself. At the beginning of the 1910s, most American workers were farmers or employed in small stores, factories, or mills. It wouldn’t be until later in the decade that more people would move to the bigger cities for higher-paying jobs.
Who was William Howard Taft?
William Howard Taft was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on September 15, 1857. His father was a prominent Republican attorney and served as the secretary of war and attorney general under President Ulysses S. Grant, and would then serve as the Austria-Hungary ambassador under President Chester A. Arthur. Taft was born into a household already established in political matters, making it natural for him to pursue politics for himself.
As a young man, Taft graduated second in his class at Yale University and then went to the University of Cincinnati to study law. His dream was to hold a seat on the United States Supreme Court, a role he would fulfill after his presidency - making him the only man in history to hold the highest office in both executive and judicial branches of the United States government.
The Road to Presidency
Before becoming president, Taft was called to Washington by then President William McKinley, who tasked him with setting up a civilian government in the Philippines. This is a role he took a great passion for and even turned down two instances of President Roosevelt offering him a seat on the Supreme Court so that he could stay in the Philippines. He would later agree to take the role of Roosevelt’s secretary of war with the stipulation of remaining over the matters in the Philippines.
Some of Tafts greatest achievements as POTUS include trust-busting efforts, his empowerment of the Interstate Commerce Commission to set railroad rates, and his support of constitutional amendments mandating federal income tax and direct election of senators by the people.
Taft Presidency Missteps
As a part of the Republican party, Taft had a lot of backlash from the more progressive Republicans in the party, like Roosevelt - these were considered missteps in their eyes. For example, in 1909, Taft passed the Payne-Aldrich Act which did little for lowering tariffs, a bill that most progressives thought Taft would veto. He further infuriated the progressives when he dismissed Gifford Pinchot (a close friend of Roosevelt) and upheld the policies of Secretary of the Inferior Richard Ballinger. The firing of Pinchot forced the Republican Party to become estranged from Taft and ultimately migrate to Roosevelt.
Restoring Shoenberg Farms
The Shoenberg Farms Restoration Project is more than just creating a new source for community involvement - it is bringing the history of the area back to life. In the early 1900s, Colorado’s economy was on an upswing with the Colorado Gold Rush. Towns were flourishing, people were prospering - the restoration of Shoenberg Farms is a tribute to the history of the region. To learn more about the current restoration project, click here.