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Closing of the Open Range

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Presentation on theme: "Closing of the Open Range"— Presentation transcript:

1 Closing of the Open Range
Open Range: unfenced, public land; usually for grazing cattle

2 End of Cattle Drives By late 1880s, the great cattle drives were over
Renewed outbreaks of Texas Fever caused states to quarantine Cattle prices fell in the 1880s, making it too costly to drive the herds More farmers & ranchers installed fencing, closing off the open range Rail lines had been extended into Texas, making cattle drives unnecessary

3 Fencing the Open Range Farmers moved to West Texas & wanted to fence their land to protect crops from stray cattle & sheep Some ranchers also wanted to fence their land Wood was hard to find in the region Joseph F Glidden developed barbed wire in 1873 Barbed Wire: type of wire fencing, designed with sharp points, or barbs (kept cattle off the fencing without hurting the animals) Invention of barbed wire was influenced by the use of natural fences in the past Easy & inexpensive By late 1880s, there were barbed wire fences in nearly every Texas county

4 Barbed Wire

5 Windmills Not a lot of rivers for water, but the Ogallala Aquifer lay underneath the region Aquifer: a layer of rock/gravel that absorbs rainfall & keeps it flowing underground Ranchers adapted to the environment by using windmills Windmills: devices using wind power to pump water from underground to the surface Made it possible for cattle owners to fence in their cattle Allowed farmers & ranchers in West Texas to irrigate crops without having access to a river

6 Windmill

7 Range Wars Late 1800s Caused by ranchers fencing land with barbed wire
Fight was also over the blocking of water sources, cattle drives, sheep & goat ranching Farmers & ranchers battled between each other, cutting & destroying fences Resulted in gunfights & lower property values

8 Fencing Laws Fence cutting became an important political issue
Texas Legislature made fence cutting a felony Also required a gate every 3 miles of fence to allow passage of roads & railroads

9 Legacy of the Open Range
End of the 1880s, open range began to disappear The windmill allowed farmers and their crops to expand onto the plains Severe winters caused the death of thousands of cattle Some ranchers expanded too quickly, allowed overgrazing Newly invented refrigerator cars could move processed beef to eastern cities Cattle ranching continues is still a significant part of the Texas economy today In 2010, the total value of cattle production in Texas was over $6 billion

10 WAYS TEXANS HAVE ADAPTED TO AND MODIFIED THE ENVIRONMENT AND POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES OF THE MODIFICATIONS Closing the frontier Adapted/Modified – fences kept cattle, sheep, and goats within one’s property. Consequences – changed business of ranching, more commercial, & encouraged other types of industries to move into the area

11 Create Chart in Journal – on left side of notes
Explain how these inventions influenced the development in Texas Barbed Wire Windmill Effect Led to closing of the open range End of the Cattle Drives Led to the Range Wars Effect Increased ranching & farming in dry West Texas Contributed to the closing of the open range

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