14 photos
Bent's Fort, Colorado

Situated on the north bank of the Arkansas River in southeastern Colorado, this non-military fort was one of the most significant outposts on the Santa Fe Trail and as the principal outpost of American civilization on the southwestern Plains, was instrumental in shaping the destiny of the area. In the heart of Indian country, buffalo hunting grounds and at the crossroads of key overland routes, it was a fur trading center and rendezvous point for traders and Indians; a way station and supply center for emigrants and caravans; and the chief point of contact and cultural transmission between white settlers and Indians of the southern Plains. In its later years it was a military staging base for the U.S. conquest of New Mexico.

Among the earliest western fur traders were the brothers William and Charles Bent and Ceran St. Vrain, all of whom, in the 1820's began to engage in the Mexican and Indian trade. In about 1830, Charles Bent and St. Vrain formed a partnership, which in time became Bent, St. Vrain, and Co., and entered the Santa Fe trade. In the late 1820's or early 1830's.

Bent's Fort, CO

Bent's Fort, CO

Bents Fort, CO - Dining Room

Bents Fort, CO - Dining Room

Bents Fort, CO - Edward Dorris Grave

Bents Fort, CO - Edward Dorris Grave

Bents Fort, CO - Flag

Bents Fort, CO - Flag

Bent's Fort, CO - Interior Courtyard

Bent's Fort, CO - Interior Courtyard

Bent's Fort, CO - Interior Courtyard - 2

Bent's Fort, CO - Interior Courtyard - 2

Bent's Fort, CO - Interior Courtyard - 3

Bent's Fort, CO - Interior Courtyard - 3

Bent's Fort, CO - Interior Room

Bent's Fort, CO - Interior Room

Bent's Fort, CO - Trading Post Interior

Bent's Fort, CO - Trading Post Interior

Bent's Fort, CO - Wagon & Oxen

Bent's Fort, CO - Wagon & Oxen

Bent's Fort, CO - Blacksmith Shop

Bent's Fort, CO - Blacksmith Shop

Bent's Fort, CO - Gun Port

Bent's Fort, CO - Gun Port

Bent's Fort, CO - Looking Down

Bent's Fort, CO - Looking Down

Bent's Fort, CO - Welcome

Bent's Fort, CO - Welcome