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 some property and married Andrellita Lucero. Soon after, they moved to a ranch northwest of Fort Garland and then to an isolated area near the edge of the Great Sand Dunes. Teofilo and Andrellita had six children, but only Pedro, born in 1866, survived to adulthood.

Teofilo Trujillo quickly made himself into one of the wealthiest Hispano ranchers in the area, and in the late 1870s and early 1880s, he secured the title to his land and started to acquire adjacent parcels.

The Trujillo family was able to expand its holdings even more in 1883 when Pedro filed for his own 160-acre homestead about one mile southwest of his father’s homestead. By 1885, Pedro had a three-acre vegetable garden and was growing hay and raising cattle and horses. That same year, at the age of 19, he married 13-year-old Sofia Martinez.

When the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad arrived in the late 1870s, Pedro adapted to the changes that came along with it, “Americanizing” himself so he would be taken more seriously as a cattleman.

Meanwhile, Teofilo stuck to sheep and unfortunately became a target for the animosity of nearby Anglo cattle ranchers. In January, 1901, while he was away from home attending a trial about an earlier incident, cattle ranchers swept in, destroyed a large part of his sheep herd, and burnt his house to the ground, including $8,000 in cash he had stored inside.

The intimidation worked, and soon after, Teofilo and Pedro sold all their water rights and land—a total of 1,496 acres. Teofilo moved to San Luis and continued to raise sheep until his death in 1915. Pedro bought 400 acres of land near Sargents and lived there until his death in 1934.

In 2004, Pedro Trujillo’s Homestead was listed on the National Register of Historic Places with restoration completed in 2010.

In 2012, the Teofilo and Pedro Trujillo Homesteads were named a National Historic Landmark, making them the first Hispano homesteads in the Southwest to achieve the distinction.