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History

Cameron Mine

The Cameron Mine was opened prior to the incorporation of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company under the Colorado Coal and Iron Company. It was named after James Cameron, a manager for the CC&I who died in 1881. The Cameron Mine was located along the main line of the C&S railroad just south of Walsenburg [...]

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Spanish Peaks Country Heritage

Prior to the Europeans arrival, Spanish Peaks Country served as a crossroads for the native people of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. Taos Pueblo in New Mexico was a major trading center for over 1,000 years, and the Native people, who spread many trading routes from Taos, headed north most frequently, crossing into Colorado’s [...]

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Legendary Trails of Southern Colorado

The Pueblo and Taos Indians The Pueblo Indians of Taos in the 1300s had a well-established system of hunting and trading trails in southern Colorado. Long before Coronado’s men “discovered” them in 1540, the Taos Indians were known as gifted traders and were famous for their regional trade fairs. They operated on the interface between [...]

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The Trujillo Homesteads

The Trujillo Homesteads, settled in the 1860s and 1870s by Teofilo Trujillo and his son, Pedro, are located in Alamosa County along the western boundary of the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. In 1864, at the age of 24, Teofilo Trujillo migrated from northern New Mexico to San Pablo, Colorado, where he acquired [...]

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The Taos Mountain Trail

Part of the noted Taos or Trapper's Trail leading from Bent's Fort to Taos ascended the Huerfano River from the Arkansas River to the old community of Badito, branched southwest up Oak Creek, and crossed the east side of Sheep Mountain and the west side of Mount Mestas to Sangre de Cristo Creek. The old [...]

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Tom Sharp

Tom Sharp was born in Hannibal Missouri, the same birthplace as and within a few years of Mark Twain and the “Unsinkable” Molly Brown. Tom Sharp served the Confederacy during the Civil War but received numerous wounds for his efforts and was paroled from the Army of the South early in the war. He spent [...]

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Historical Characters of Spanish Peaks Country

Francis X. Aubry Francis X. Aubry Also known as “The Telegraph,” Francis X. Aubry pioneered the “Aubry Cutoff” on the Santa Fe Trail. From a point on the Arkansas River, just east of present-day Syracuse, Kansas, he headed across southeastern Colorado to the Cimarron River. Aubry is best remembered for a ride he made from [...]

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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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