Did you know that Colorado has two designated National Historical sites? Bent’s Old Fort and the Sandcreek Massacre site are the two National Historic Sites located in Colorado.
Bent’s Old Fort, located in Otero County in southeast Colorado, was built in 1883. Also known as the “Castle on the Plains”, it was originally built as a fur trading post. Brothers Charles and William Bent along with Cerean St. Vrain built the original fort, thus the name, “Bent’s Fort”. Located along the Santa Fe Trail, it was a place for traders, travelers, trappers and the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes to peacefully trade their wares. The fort was an active trading post for 16 years and the only major permanent white settlement along the Santa Fe Trail.
Today, the fort features a reconstructed version of the original 1880’s adobe trading post. Living historians re-create the sights, sounds and smells of the past with guided tours, demonstrations, and special events.
Designation as National Historic Site
The fort was designated a National Historic Landmark under the National Park Service on June 3, 1960 and later became a National Historic Site on December 19, 1960.
Plan your visit
If you like local Colorado history, or even if you’re not a history buff, you’ll enjoy visiting this site. The fort is open year-round. However, I recommend visiting during the morning in the summertime as it can be quite hot during the middle of the day. Plan your visit here: https://www.nps.gov/beol/index.htm