Experience war and calamity at Bent’s Old Fort presentation
The public is invited to join the inhabitants of Bent’s Old Fort Friday, September 2, from 1:00 to 5:30 p.m. and September 3 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. to experience the sights and sounds of Bent, St. Vrain, & Company in 1847.
Increased military and civilian traffic due to the outbreak of the Mexican American War in 1846, and the resulting spread of diseases such as measles and cholera among the Nations of the Plains led to violence, particularly with the Comanche, Kiowa, and some bands of Arapaho. Charles Bent, oldest of the Bent brothers, had been appointed by General Kearny to serve as the first American governor of New Mexico Territory. Just a few months into his term he was brutally assassinated during the Taos Revolt. His partner Ceran St. Vrain had taken a large part in the military campaign that crushed the revolt. BSV & Co. employees and friends took an important part in the final battle at Taos Pueblo, during the trial of the leaders, and the resulting executions.
Increased raiding during the summer resulted in the recruitment of the Indian Battalion to attack the Comanche. Sometime during the summer, William Bent's Cheyenne wife, Owl Woman, would die following the birth of their fourth child. William Bent's last surviving brother, George, would die at Bent's Fort October 23, leaving William Bent and Ceran St. Vrain as the only remaining partners. The previous year had marked the high point of the company's aspirations. 1847 was the beginning of its decline.
Come join us for this chance to experience life at one of the premier living history locations in the country and see firsthand the changes all of this was bringing to the company. You can explore inside the recreated adobe fort, smell period foods such as buffalo tongue and ribs being prepared, hear the pounding of the blacksmith’s hammer, watch a wagon be repaired, haggle with the fort traders, ring the bell in the watchtower and meet some of the fort livestock! Here you will truly be immersed in history, in the place it really happened 175 years ago. In addition, we will be offering a historic weapons demonstration at 10am and a guided Ranger program at 2:00 p.m.
There is no additional fee to participate in this special event. Regular park entrance fees apply, and park passes are accepted. Join us to learn about this pivotal time in history through the lens of over 40 living historians!
The park’s fee of $10 per adult (age 16 and older) will apply. Kids 15 and under are free. All National Park Passes are honored. Fees will be collected at the fort entrance.
As always, visitors should be prepared for the weather. Water, sunscreen and comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site is located on Colorado Highway 194, eight miles east of La Junta or 15 miles west of Las Animas.