This weekend I took a road trip. No map. No destination in mind. Just the open road and a full gas tank. A new concept for me, but something I might get used to. Dalhart, Texas is in the very NW corner of the Panhandle and not far from Oklahoma, Colorado, New Mexico, or Kansas, so it only makes sense to do some driving and see the country side. For a kid who has only made two prior trips outside of the Central Time Zone this was an adventure. I started out headed west to New Mexico. Thought maybe I would go to Clayton, get a bite to eat, and turn back around. When I saw the sign for Raton, I figured why not just keep going a little farther.
Once in Raton, there was I-25 North just inviting me to keep going. Well I ended up in Trinidad, Colorado, and let me tell ya, when it comes to the mountains the guy is a kid in a candy store. After spending last summer horseback in the Big Horns of Wyoming, I cannot get enough. And after being in the High Plains all summer, I needed a break. The mountains and foothills are amazing and green right now. Oh, what a sight to see!
Trinidad has rich historical ties to Agriculture, like many town in America. Because of the towns proximity to the Raton pass on the Santa Fe trail, many cattle drives, cowboys, and trains stopped in the area before or after crossing the mountains. The town became known as a coal mining town and the camps covered the Purgatorie Valley and the area was home to the Ludlow Massacre which was the result of the Colorado Coal Miner’s strike of 1914. Trinidad was home to the headquarters of the Matador, Prairie Land and Cattle Company, and Bloom Land and Cattle Company. Many of the larger buildings downtown were built using ranch money.
These ranches were no small feat at the time and had offices in Trinidad’s First National Bank building. The Matador ran 72,000 cattle on 880,000 acres while the Prairie Land and Cattle covered 5 million acres stretching from New Mexico to Canada. Both of these were Scottish owned operations, but the locally owned Bloom Land and Cattle showed its strength with ranges from Roswell, NM into Montana. Ranching is still of large economic importance to this area of Southern Colorado and cattle can be seen along the road grazing in green mountain and foothill pastures.
For the lovers of Western cowboy legends, Trinidad claims fame to Bat Masterson as town Marshal in the 1880s and visits by the Earps, Doc Holiday, Billy the Kid and a statue of Kit Carson stands in the park that bears his name.
Come on back on Friday to see more photos and hear more about the ranching history of Trinidad and Las Animas County, Colorado.
There are sure to be many more stories of my road trips in the future and the historical ties to Agriculture I find in these towns. What historical ties to Agriculture can you find for towns in your area? I am positive they are there somewhere. This week I challenge you to do a little research, look into it, and share your story with us. If you make a blog post of your findings, be sure to send me the link. This is a great way to share a little Agriculture history with everyone. Visit the Agriculture Proud Facebook page to connect with more great farmers and ranchers.