During the 19th century, many trading forts in the American west found gardens to be a necessary source of fresh food. The selection of crops at each fort depended entirely on what crops were suitable for each specific climate. Crops ranged from sweet corn to watermelon and summer squash to Hidatsa beans.
In the 1960s, Bay Arnold insisted that The Fort Restaurant needed a fur trade garden, just as forts of the old west once had. She discovered the … Read the entire post >
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Summer is road trip season, and we’ve mapped out a historic and educational road trip for you and yours to adventure on this summer. The Southwestern region of the United States was once a breeding ground for adobe forts, which served as a commercial place for merchants, hunters and trappers to conduct trade and protect their goods. Today, many of these forts have been restored and now serve as must-visit historical monuments. From Colorado to New Mexico and all the … Read the entire post >
July marks National Bison Month, celebrating the cultural, historical and economical contribution of North America’s largest land animal.
Bison have roamed our continent for tens of thousands of years. Ancestors of today’s bison existed nearly 120,000 years ago and by the time the first Europeans arrived in the 1600s, estimates are that there were upward of 60 million buffalo living in what today is North America.
The Plains tribes relied on bison for food, clothes, shelter and trade. The indigenous … Read the entire post >
Life in the early West was not as primitive as some may think. Although beaver tail, raw buffalo liver and dog stew were often served for dinner, the bourgeois, or boss, of each fort would have dined on English porcelain. Most forts had wine cellars that were full of French and Spanish wines typically sold by the hogshead, or 63 gallon barrels. The wine would then be decanted from these barrels and poured into hand-blown glass bottles before being sold … Read the entire post >
Colorado’s Front Range is located in “Hail Alley,” meaning it receives the highest frequency of hail in North America. In the 1830s, visitors at Bent’s Old Fort would make the most of storms by catching the hail in a mason jar and mixing the cocktail that eventually became known as the Hailstorm Premiere Julep.
Since the day Samuel and Bay Arnold opened The Fort in 1963, the Hailstorm Julep has been a staple on our cocktail menu. It was originally … Read the entire post >
Founded in 1830, Mormonism has been a powerful force in bringing many people to the West. The ten companies of saints – as Mormons were commonly called in the old West – traveled the handcart route between 1856 and 1860. With them, they brought a variety of different recipes and cooking techniques. In later years, Mormon cooking recognized its culinary heritage as coming from New England, the British Isles, Scandinavia and Switzerland. Old Mormon recipes were adapted for the foods … Read the entire post >
The Fort Proprietress Holly Arnold Kinney was raised at the iconic Colorado landmark with her brother, Keith, and pet Canadian Black Bear, Sissy. As a young girl, Kinney learned the restaurant business by taking on various roles at The Fort Restaurant and traveling to several cultures around the world with her parents.
Kinney later chose to pursue a career in advertising and public relations. After working for various radio stations, Kinney founded Arnold Media Services, specializing in food products … Read the entire post >
This summer, The Fort will open its gates to the public as the Tesoro Cultural Center expands its educational programming and cultural events with their new Living History Experience. Using our historic adobe structure as its primary teaching tool, Tesoro will introduce 20 weekends of historic immersion and fun for the whole family. Join us for shopping, art, music, historic demonstrations and more.
Visitors will learn about Bent’s Old Fort and the cultural diversity that inspired the Arnold family to … Read the entire post >
If you’ve taken time to stroll the grounds of The Fort, you’ve likely noticed the beautiful woodwork furniture that complements our adobe building. These custom-built pieces were made by Antonio Archuleta of Taos, New Mexico.
A dear friend of The Fort, Antonio created our Spanish-colonial style furniture from our opening in 1963 to his unexpected passing in 2011. He was mentored by Elidio Gonzales in the 1950s, when Gonzales spent time teaching him the craft.
Fun fact: Each dining … Read the entire post >