“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Trinidad in Las Animas County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)

Welcome to Colorado - Trinidad Country / Trinidad - Army of the West

Welcome to Colorado (Panel 1) image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, July 23, 2016
1. Welcome to Colorado (Panel 1)
Panel 1
Welcome to Colorado

Colorado's vast plains, rugged mountains and grand plateaus, so magnificent in their beauty and variety seem at times to overshadow the state's history and people. But look closely. The story of Colorado is every bit as dramatic as the physical terrain. Many peoples have helped sculpt Colorado's past: the Anasazi, whose civilization dates back thousands of years; the Utes, who occupied the Rockies for centuries; the numerous other peoples who lived in this region; Hispano pioneers, the state's first permanent non-Indian settlers; and the men and women who came here and built cities, dug mines, and planted farms. Colorado's natural endowment is world-renowned. But the state's history, like the land on which it unfolds, features its own breathtaking peaks and valleys, its own scenes of improbable awe and splendor.
A new generation of roadside markers is in place to help you experience the history of Colorado in all its color and fullness. Produced by CHS, the Colorado Department of Transportation, and the Federal Highway Administration, in collaboration with local partners, these illustrated signs introduce you to people and events as large and colorful as the state itself. Every mile you travel in Colorado has stories to tell; the markers help
Trinidad Country Map (Panel 2) image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, July 23, 2016
2. Trinidad Country Map (Panel 2)
you chart your journey through the past. For an in-depth view, visit the Colorado History Museum in Denver, the various regional museums of CHS, and the county and local museums found throughout Colorado.

Graphics: Various State Images
Colorado Historical Society

Panel 2
Map: Trinidad Country

Panel 3

Rising on the Sante Fe Trail in 1860, Trinidad quickly emerged as a farming, ranching, and freighting mecca, and nearby coal seams spawned a mining boom in the late 1800s. By then Trinidad lay at the heart of a thriving commercial network, with major arteries heading in all directions. The handsome downtown district - El Corazón de Trinidad - reflected the wealth of enterprises headquartered here. Trinidad came to resemble an eastern metropolis in miniature, with three daily newspapers, an opera house, impressive public buildings, and elegant residential neighborhoods. Although the twentieth century brought less spectacular growth, Trinidad remains a vital regional center, its grand old buildings still radiating power and prestige.
Two families, two cultures, one city. Felipe and Dolores Baca, wealthy Hispanos who led a group of pioneers to Trinidad, brought a sense of community to this settlement on the Sante Fe Trail.
Trinidad (Panel 3) image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, July 23, 2016
3. Trinidad (Panel 3)
They donated land for the townsite and supported the Catholic school and church. As farmers, ranchers, and property owners, the Bacas also influenced Tirinidad's economic growth. Frank Bloom, an equally important figure, embodied the Yankee spirit of individual enterprise. As merchant, banker, cattle baron, and owner of a coal mine, he amassed a personal fortune and influenced the industries which sustained Trinidad for generations. The Baca House and Bloom Mansion, both historic landmarks and museums, stand together as fitting tributes to two prominent families from Trinidad's earliest years.

Graphic: Photo of Trinidad, c. 1879
Colorado Historical Society

Graphic: Frank Bloom
Colorado Historical Society

Graphic: Baca House, built 1870
Bruce Hucko

Graphic: Dolores Baca and Family
Colorado Historical Society

Panel 4
Army of the West

"Away into the wee hours of the morning did we tramp, tramp, tramp. Nothing broke the stillness of the night but the steady tramp of the mean and the rattle of the wagons. We were now to prove the sincerity of those patriotic oaths so often sworn, and right nobly it was done."
"At the first sign of daylight, 'Assembly' sounded as shrilly as if waking to renewed exertion the iron sinews of a steam engine, instead of
Army of the West (Panel 4) image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, July 23, 2016
4. Army of the West (Panel 4)
a weary mass of human energy scarcely composed to rest. But it was none the less inexorable and, satisfying nature with a crust of hard bread, we were on the road again."
--Ovando J. Hollister, Boldly They Rode (1863)
Charged with moving on Santa Fe, New Mexico, during the Mexican-American War, Col. Stephen Watts Kearny made strategic use of the Mountain Route of the Santa Fe Trail. The well-known commercial route simplified a daunting logistical task - moving 1,500 men and an equal number of supply wagons across nine hundred miles of desolate prairie. From Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, the troops advanced about twenty-five miles a day in stifling heat, crossing the Arkansas River into Mexican territory on August 1, 1846. Five days later the army forded the Purgatoire River in the vicinity of present-day Trinidad, and on August 18 it occupied Santa Fe without firing a shot. Kearny's long-distance march not only improved the road but also helped popularize it. Trade traffic increased, and the trail remained an important military pipeline.
The Civil War nearly came to Colorado when Confederate forces, seeking control of the Rocky Mountain goldfields, came out of Texas and drove halfway through New Mexico. In response, two units of the First Colorado Regiment came together near the newly founded town of Trinidad on March 7, 1862. They marched south for the next thirty-six
Marker can be seen near the entrance to the Welcome Center. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, July 23, 2016
5. Marker can be seen near the entrance to the Welcome Center.
hours, covering ninety-two miles (including a snowy hike over Raton Pass). Only when their pack animals began to drop from exhaustion did the soldiers finally halt. After a few hours' sleep they were on their way again - "with all possible and impossible speed," one soldier wrote - into a blinding windstorm. The regiment reached Fort Union, New Mexico, on March 11 and provided decisive support at the Battle of Glorieta Pass. Days later, the Rebels were in full retreat.

Graphic: Painting of Kearny's Army
The Army of the West, from Ralph Emerson Twitchell's The Military Occupation of New Mexico, 1846-1851
Colorado Historical Society

Graphic: Portrait of Kearny
Colorado Historical Society

Graphic: Photo of First Regiment of Colorado Volunteers
Colorado Historical Society
Erected 1997 by Colorado Historical Society. (Marker Number 192.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the History Colorado marker series.
Location. 37° 10.194′ N, 104° 30.633′ W. Marker is in Trinidad, Colorado, in Las Animas County. Marker is at the intersection of Nevada Avenue and North Animas Street, on the right when traveling south on Nevada Avenue. Click for map. Located at the Colorado Welcome
Welcome to Colorado - Trinidad Country panels. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, July 23, 2016
6. Welcome to Colorado - Trinidad Country panels.
Center in Trinidad. Marker is at or near this postal address: 309 Nevada Avenue, Trinidad CO 81082, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 14 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. World War II Veterans Memorial (here, next to this marker); Viet-Nam War Memorial (a few steps from this marker); Christopher Carson (approx. half a mile away); Santa Fe Trail (approx. half a mile away); The Ludlow Massacre - Cultural Frontier / Hispano Colorado - El Moro Country (approx. 4 miles away); Raton Pass (approx. 12.2 miles away); Road to Santa Fe - Over the Pass / Santa Fe Trail Country - "Uncle Dick" Wootton (approx. 12.3 miles away); Hastings Mine Explosion (approx. 13.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Trinidad.
Categories. Natural FeaturesSettlements & SettlersWar, Mexican-AmericanWar, US Civil
Trinidad & Army of the West panels. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, July 23, 2016
7. Trinidad & Army of the West panels.
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 85 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on , by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page was last revised on September 13, 2016.
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