Category: Bent’s Old Fort History

Fur Trade Gardens in the West

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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Road Trip Itinerary: Historic Southwestern Forts

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 >

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Tesoro’s 1830s Rendezvous and Spanish Art Market

We had another great year hosting Tesoro’s 1830s Rendezvous and Spanish Art Market on the grounds of The Fort. Our guests were accompanied by family, friends, mountain men, artists, dancers and beautiful weather. It was an unforgettable and “waughsome” celebration!

The event was a fun day full of activities for the whole family. Guests were able to experience demonstrations from mountain men and women, trappers and traders. Our mountain men and women paired up with guests to teach them a … Read the entire post >

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Back to School at Tesoro Cultural Center

It’s back to school time in Colorado, and Tesoro Cultural Center is excited to welcome visitors for a variety of educational programs. Tesoro is dedicated to offering public education outreach in an effort to preserve Colorado’s rich history and cultural heritage of the 19th-21st century.

Kiowa Curriculum
The Kiowa Curriculum is an oral history video, “The Kiowa People: In Their Own Words,” and includes a companion activity packet. The program features a Kiowa tribal member, John Emhoolah, … Read the entire post >

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Old Forts of the American West

As settlers moved west in the 19th century, forts were established for a variety of reasons. Some were built on the basis of anticipated use for protection, others as a way to protect commerce along the trails. Contrary to popular belief, however, most American west forts weren’t built to protect the settlers from Indians. They were instead built as a way to maintain peace across tribes, as well as between American Indians and emigrants.

While some of the original … Read the entire post >

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Bent’s Old Fort Gives Visitors a Feel for Fur Trade Life

Carpenters, blacksmiths and trappers, oh my! This past March, “Frontier Skills Day” at Bent’s Old Fort invited visitors to step back in time more than 180 years, and live a day as frontiersmen through an immersive role-play experience. Hosted by the National Park Service, the March 19 event put visitors to the test with survival activities such as adobe brick-making, frontier cooking, fur trading and learning Indian sign language.

“Frontier Skills Day” reenacted the bustling life of the historic fort, … Read the entire post >

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Awards Nominee, “The Revenant,” Lightly Seasoned with Western Culinary History

The 88th Academy Awards are just around the corner, and much of the Oscar season buzz has surrounded the highly acclaimed 12-time nominee, “The Revenant.” The western revenge epic of real-life frontiersman Hugh Glass (played by Oscar-ready-and-waiting actor Leonardo DiCaprio), has brought the American west to the forefront of pop culture—and believe it or not, highlights some of the traditional western fare served at The Fort!

“The Revenant” confronts the significance and brutality of the fur trapping trade, and the … Read the entire post >

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Make The Fort’s Famous Pumpkin-Walnut Muffins at Home

During the first few decades of operation at The Fort, the recipe for our pumpkin-walnut muffins was requested by guests on what seemed to be a nightly basis. Generations later, we are sharing the secret ingredient to our favorite bread; it’s all about the pumpkin! These muffins contain nearly twice as much pumpkin as similar recipes, and are cooked for a long time at a low temperature to give them the dense, flavorful texture that guests have come to love.… Read the entire post >

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