National and State Register

Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site

Otero County

This site northeast of La Junta once contained Bent’s Old Fort, an important trading post near the Arkansas River along the Mountain Branch of the Santa Fe Trail.  Constructed around 1833 by brothers Charles and William Bent and partner Ceran St. Vrain, the fort occupied an area that at that time was the border between the United States and newly independent Mexico.

A black and white photo of the fort from the interior with walls on the side, tower on the right and well in the center.

Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site (1983 photograph.)

The fort became the foci where Hispano, Euro-American, and the various Plains Indian tribes, of which the Cheyenne, Kiowa, Arapaho, and Comanche were the most prominent, interacted.  The reconstructed adobe fort on the historic site dates to the mid-1970s.  The property is associated with the Historic Resources of the Santa Fe Trail, 1821-1880 Multiple Property Submission.