History

Kit Carson

Kit Carson grew up on the Missouri border, watching his older brothers, one-by-one, disappear up the Missouri River or over the Santa Fe Trail. After his father died in a field accident, his mother apprenticed him to a saddle maker in Franklin. That life didn’t suit him, and in 1826, at the age of 16, [...]

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Juan Bautista de Anza & Cuerno Verde

Cuerno Verde: Spain's Don Juan de Oñate founded New Mexico on behalf of his home country in 1598. This new frontier expanded for hundreds, if not thousands of miles in the minds of the Spanish. This mentality led to decades of battles between the Spaniards and the native people, including the Navajos and the Comanches [...]

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The Bent, St. Vrain & Company

The Bent, St. Vrain & Company was formed in 1830 by William and Charles Bent, sons of a wealthy and influential St. Louis judge, and Ceran St. Vrain, a Taos trader and ex-trapper. About the Company: After its formation in 1830, The Bent, St. Vrain & Company’s Mexican trade grew rapidly as their wagon trains [...]

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Walsenburg

Walsenburg, Huerfano Country’s county seat, sits in the heart of Spanish Peaks Country. With I-25, Highway 160, and Highway 10 meeting in Walsenburg, this quaint, Southern Colorado gem is a popular stop for travelers who delight in its small-town charm and history, natural wonders, and artistic inspiration of the surrounding area. Visitors enjoy Walsenburg’s antique [...]

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Huerfano County Historical Society

Take a deep dive into Huerfano County’s history with the Huerfano County Historical Society. This organization collects archival photos, newspapers, and Huerfano County records from the 1890s to the present. It also manages the Walsenburg Mining Museum and the Francisco Fort Museum. Find the Huerfano County Historical Society at the Huerfano Heritage Center in Walsenburg. [...]

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A People’s History of the Spanish Peaks

The Spanish Peaks of Southern Colorado have been among the most important landmarks of the southwestern United States, guiding Native American tribes, Spanish and French trappers, gold seekers, hunters, and American settlers. The Ute, Comanche, Apache, and other, earlier Native American tribes held the peaks in religious awe and named the mountains Wahatoya, meaning “Breasts [...]

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Gardner

Gardner is a small community halfway between the Wet Mountains and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in upper Huerfano County. Historically, the area was crisscrossed by Ute, Comanche, and Apache hunting parties, Spanish conquistadors, and French trappers. While a few groups of early Americans came and went in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, [...]

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The Ludlow Massacre and the Colorado Coalfield War

During Colorado’s coal mining days, colliers experienced twice the number of deaths compared to anywhere else in the world. These high death tolls reflected the mine owners’ gross negligence to safety. Though colliers wished to complain about their working conditions to mine owners, without a union, they would be fired on the spot. Moreover, companies [...]

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