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 >
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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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 >
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 >
As we enter 2017, we’re taking time to look back on what a great year we had at The Fort in 2016. From eating like frontiersman Hugh Glass in “The Revenant,” to notable awards and more, it was a year to remember. Here are some of our favorite memories!
For a limited time, in honor of the 2016 Oscars and actor Leonardo DiCaprio’s first win, guests were able to eat like his character, Hugh Glass, and delight in raw … Read the entire post >
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 >
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.
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 >
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 >
The Fort’s founders Samuel and Elizabeth Arnold were both avid historians, and felt a true connection to the American West. The couple wanted to raise their children in the foothills outside Denver, and dreamed of building an authentic adobe home there. Elizabeth, lovingly known as Bay, was struck by the architecture and history of Old Bent’s Fort while reading a history book, and suggested she and Sam build a true replica of the adobe Castle of the Plains to be … Read the entire post >