Category: History of The Fort

The Fur Trader’s and Bent’s Fort

Excerpted from Sam Arnold’s Eating Up the Santa Fe Trail.

In the early 1830s, the beaver fur trade in the mountains was still thriving, and fur companies built trade forts at strategic points along the trail to supply both free and company trappers, and to provide goods for the American Indian trade.

From 1824 to 1846, the Arkansas River served as the border between the United States and Mexico. It was logical that Missouri traders Charles and William Bent, along … Read the entire post >

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History’s Chocolate Lovers

Written by Sam’l Arnold and excerpted from Eating Up the Santa Fe Trail.

Tablets or slabs of chocolate have been cherished by New Mexican chocolate fanciers for nearly four centuries. In probate inventories, slabs of chocolate were listed among the estate assets of New Mexicans as early as the 17th century. Shortly after the Spanish invasion of Mexico in the early 16th century, Fray Bernardino de Sahagun listed orange, black and white chocolate, sometimes mixed with sweetening or … Read the entire post >

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Strange Eats of the Old West

Written by Sam’l Arnold and excerpted from Shinin’ Times at The Fort

As the mountain men commonly said, “Meat’s meat, howsomever [sic] what kind, as long as it’s meat!” Learn more about the rather interesting types of meat consumed by fur traders and trappers, mountain men, travelers and American Indians alike during the mid-19th century.

Buffalo Tongue

Considered a holy meat by the Indians, buffalo tongue was thought by many to be the greatest gourmet delicacy of 19thRead the entire post >

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A Short History of a Big Animal

Written by Sam’l Arnold and excerpted from Shinin’ Times at The Fort

The last bison east of the Appalachians was killed in about 1830, although by that time, the great herds of the plains had hardly been touched by the relatively few American Indians living there. Colorado, for example, was believed to be home to fewer than eight thousand American Indians, and these were small bands of the Cheyenne, Sioux, Arapaho, Lakota and Ute tribes. Here, bison were far from … Read the entire post >

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A Glowing Christmas Tradition

A lovely Christmas tradition in New Mexico is the use of farolitos. Instead of a Christmas tree, farolitos, or “little lanterns,” are lit to usher in the holiday season. These paper bags filled with sand and a candle are place along walks, around porches or on the roof lines of a building, shining a cheery yellow light into the chilly night.

Many people mistakenly call farolitos “luminarias.” In fact, luminarias are stacks of pitch pine, piled in … Read the entire post >

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Tesoro’s Annual 1840s Rendezvous and Spanish Colonial Art Market

Step back in time with Tesoro Cultural Center’s 1840s Rendezvous and Spanish Colonial Art Market. Each year, Tesoro Cultural Center commemorates Far Western Mountaineers and the Fur Trade, including trappers, traders, American Indians, Hispanics, teamsters and military of the Bent’s Old Fort era (1833-1849). Bent’s Fort, of which The Fort Restaurant is an exact replica, was an important fur trading fort that operated along the Santa Fe Trail in the early 19th century.

This annual celebration will take place … Read the entire post >

Fifty-Five Years and Counting

In 1961, Sam’l and Bay Arnold had a dream to build an adobe home outside of Denver so their family could grow up surrounded by fresh air, horseback riding and fishing. While Bay was reading a book about Bent’s Old Fort, she was inspired to create a similar adobe castle in Morrison, Colo.

The Arnolds hired William Lumpkins, a top architect in adobe construction, as well as a contractor from New Mexico. The Fort was first authentic replica of Bent’s … Read the entire post >

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Holiday Traditions at The Fort

‘Tis the season for making memories with family, catching up with friends and enjoying festive food. This holiday season, create new traditions – or celebrate existing ones – with us at The Fort.

Christmas Eve

While our Christmas Eve dinner is sold out this year, be sure to join us from 4-5:30 p.m. for Tesoro Cultural Center’s annual Las Posadas celebration in our courtyard and throughout our grounds. The special holiday event commemorates Mary and Joseph’s journey from Nazareth to … Read the entire post >

Fort Recipe: Apple Pie Without Apples

As the end of summer nears, we’re preparing for brisk fall weather and cozy days spent baking at home with some of our favorite recipes.

Fort Robinson in Dawes County, Nebraska was famous for acting as the old Calvary headquarters, but was also well-known for making apple pie without apples. The recipe, a nod to the ingenuity of frontier cooks, substitutes the traditional use of apples for saltine crackers, lemon, eggs and cinnamon. This fall, try a twist on a … Read the entire post >

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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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