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PROMO 660 x 440 History - Bents Old Fort - NPS

Program looks at the ‘second life’ of Bent’s Old Fort

Bent's Old Fort. Courtesy NPS.

The public is invited to visit Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site September 8-9 for a program on the Second Life of Bent’s Old Fort.

Bent’s Old Fort had a long history after its days as a trading post were over. From 1860 to 1875 the site was used as a home station by a series of stagecoach lines. It also served as a US Post Office for much of that time. We will attempt to bring that era to life for a weekend, with over 80 living history volunteers bringing that period demonstrating to visitors how they lived at that time. 

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PICT Bent's Old Fort park staff greasing the axle of the park's green Conestoga Wagon. Courtesy NPS - Jake Koch

Bent's Old Fort park staff greasing the axle of the park's green Conestoga Wagon. Courtesy NPS - Jake Koch

This program will be set in a year of great change in our nation’s history, 1865. The Civil War was finally at an end; however, this area was still reeling from the shockwaves of the Sand Creek Massacre from the previous year. The regular army was coming west to replace volunteer troops, and Congress had sent a committee to investigate the causes of the Colorado War of 1864-65 that was fought between the Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Lakota and the United States Army due to continued encroachment on Tribal lands. 

Come interact with Native Americans, Stage Company Employees and Passengers, Infantry, Cavalry, Freighters, Emigrants, Buffalo Hunters, and the Land Office. 

Friday, September 8 

  • 11:00 a.m. - Driving the Stage – An interactive children’s program. Presented by Eric Smallwood, Kansas State Historical Society (In front of the fort) 
  • 1:00 p.m. - Rebels in Blue: Galvanized Yankees on the Santa Fe Trail. Presented by Ranger Bill Holcombe, Bent’s Old Fort NHS (In Wagon Shed) 
  • 2:30 p.m. - Bent’s Old Fort: From Buffalo Robes to Stagecoaches. Presented by Ranger Jake Koch, Bent’s Old Fort NHS (In Wagon Shed) 

Saturday, September 9 

  • 9:00 a.m. - Rebels in Blue: Galvanized Yankees on the Santa Fe Trail. Presented by Ranger Bill Holcombe, Bent’s Old Fort NHS (In Wagon Shed) 
  • 10:00 a.m. - Bent’s Old Fort: From Buffalo Robes to Stagecoaches. Presented by Ranger Jake Koch, Bent’s Old Fort NHS (In Wagon Shed) 
  • 11:00 a.m. - The Military on the Southern Plains in 1865. Presented by Dr. Bob Wettemann, US Air Force Academy          (In Wagon Shed) 
  • 1:30pm - Investigating a Tragedy: A Living History Presentation. Facilitated by Ranger Jake Koch, Bent’s Old Fort Staff and Volunteers (In Fort Plaza) 
  • 3:00p.m. - The Sand Creek Massacre and Its Aftermath. Presented by Ranger Teri Jobe, Sand Creek Massacre NHS (In Wagon Shed)          

The park’s standard fee for people aged 16 and up will apply. Kids 15 and under are free. All National Park Passes are honored. Fees will be collected at the fort entrance. 

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PROMO History - Bent's Old Fort Building Adobe NPS - Pixabay - Mike Goad

© Pixabay - Mike Goad

Visitors should be prepared for the weather. Temperatures may still be high at the time of this event. Please be aware of your limits and use your best judgement. Water, sunscreen, and comfortable walking shoes are recommended. There is a one quarter mile walk from the parking lot to the fort. 

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.