Bent’s Old Fort - La Junta, Colorado
Posted by: Big B Bob
N 38° 02.436 W 103° 25.776
13S E 637805 N 4211483
Quick Description: Even it's namesake could not permanently destroy this great old fort.
Location: Colorado, United States
Date Posted: 6/13/2009 8:34:01 PM
Waymark Code: WM6K8R
From Wikipedia: (visit link
Bent's Old Fort is an 1833 fort located in Otero County, Colorado, USA. William and Charles Bent, along with Ceran St. Vrain, built the fort to trade with Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho Plains Indians and trappers for buffalo robes. For much of its 16-year history, the fort was the only major permanent white settlement on the Santa Fe Trail between Missouri and the Mexican settlements. It was destroyed under mysterious circumstances in 1849.
The area of the fort was designated a National Historic Site under the National Park Service on June 3, 1960. It was further designated a National Historic Landmark later that year on December 19, 1960.
For much of the 20th century there have been two main opposing theories for the 1849 destruction of the Fort. In his book Colorado (1889), George Bancroft attributes the Fort's demise to an attack by local indigenous tribes; "Bent's fort was also captured subsequently and the inmates slaughtered". This theory has since been largely discounted. Historians now lean towards the explanation that William Bent himself attempted to sell the Fort to the U.S. Army and, when he failed to extract a sum he felt the sale warranted he mined the fort with gunpowder and explosive charges and "blew it to pieces" on August 21, 1849. Certainly eye-witnesses who saw the fort after its abandonment tend to describe damage and destruction as being greater than would have been the case had the Fort simply fallen prey to abandonment and neglect.
Archaeological excavations and original sketches, paintings and diaries were used in the fort's reconstruction in 1976.