Travel your trails through the past with Colorado Genealogy Trails


 Historical Markers

When entering Colorado by way of I-70 from Kansas you can stop at the Colorado Welcome Center and view the Kiosks located there. 
Below is the written information located on them.

Welcome to Colorado
Colorado's vast plains, rugged mountains and grand plateaus, so magnificent in their beauty and variety, seem at times to overshadow the state's history and people. But look closely. The story of Colorado is every bit as dramatic as the physical terrain. Many peoples have helped sculpt Colorado's past: the ancestral Pueblasn peoples, whose civilization dates back thousands of years; the Utes, who occupied the Rockies for centuries; the numerous other native peoples who lived in this region; Hispano pioneers, the state's first permanent non-Indian settlers; and the men and women who came here and built cities, dug mines, and planted farms. Colorado's natural endowment is world renowed. But the state's history, like the land on which it unfolds, features its own breathtaking peaks and valley, its own scenes of improbable awe and splendor.

A new generation of roadside markers is in place to help you experience the history of Colorado in all its color and fullness. Produced by the Colordo Historical Society, the Colorado Department of Transportation, and the Federal Highway Adminstration in collaboration with local partners, these illustrated signs introduce you to people and events as large and colorful as the state itself. Every mile you travel in  Colorado has stories to tell; the markers help you chart your journey throught the past. For an in depth view, visit the Colorado History Museum in Denver, the Colorado Historical Society's various regional museums, and the county and local museums found throughtout Colorado.
Source: kiosk outside Colorado Welcome Center, Burlington, Colorado.

Blowing in the Wind
The windmill stands with the buffalo as the great symbol of the 19th century American West. On the high plains, water is scarce but wind constant. The genius of the western windmill, introduced in the plains during the 1870's, is that it not only harnesses the wind to get at the hidden underground water, but it is small, multi-bladed, light, movable, self-regulating, easy to maintain, and inexpensive. Its uses are many: from pumping water for people, animals, and crops to powering tools like feed grinders, wood saws, churns, and corn shellers. No one knows how many windmills operate today - one estimate for the years between 1880 and 1930 is 6,000,000 - but you can be sure that whereever you choose to be, one will be nearby.

"One would never expect to find in a ranch house marble basins and procelain tubs. Such things exist and are due wholly to the agency of the wind utilized by the windmill." F.H. Barbour, 1899

"The famous Platte Valley, with its broad expanse and shallow wells, is a veritable windmill arena. From Omaha west through the state, a distance of 500 miles, and even beyond to Denver, there is a constant succession of those creations of a sturdy population."  F.H. Barbour, 1899

Erected in 1997.
Indians, Plains and Buffalo

30,000.000 buffalo once thundered over the prairies of the American West, with perhaps 8,000,000 on the Southern plains. When native peoples acquired the horse from the Spaniards in teh 11th century, the great buffalo herds suddently became fair game. Hunting buffalo on their swift ponies, Plains Indians enjoyed immense prosperity, fo the buffalo provided more than just a dependable food source. Clothing, tools, shelter, religious objects-all came from this giant animal. Sustaining the buffalo was a sea of grass, predominantly grama buffalo, and sage here in eastern Colorado. This unique interaction between teh land, animals and people ended in the mid 19th century with the coming of European cultures and technologies.

Sea of Grass
Early white immigrants likened these rolling plains to great ocean waves. They described treeless prairie, where sky and land seemed to merge, as a sea of grass. Wagons with their white topped covers, were likened to great masted ships and called "prairie schooners". Pioneers on the trail remarked on a sense of isolation, the constant wind, the sameness of the landscape - and how similar all this was to a long sea voyage. And like the oceans, the surrounding vista excited awe. it seemed vast and endless, although the plains country stretched less than 600 miles between Denver and Kansas City. Still, as they traveled by oxen drawn wagons, the trip could take fully 6 weeks, time enough to feel isolated, wind swept, and lost in a sea of grass.

Erected in 1997.

Burlington Country
 Erected in 1997.

Colorado Birding Trail
The site of a famed battle between 50 U.S. scouts and a large force of Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Laota warriors in September 1868, the Beecher Isalnd Battleground is today listed on the National Register of Historic Places. (north on US 385) Manufactured in 1905, the Kit Carson County Carousel is the only hand carved carousel in the nation with full original paint, one of only 13 National Historic Landmarks in Colorado. The Great Plains Reservoirs, 4 large natural depression located along Highway 287, provide recreational opportunities year round. The reservoir's names, Nee Grand (Big Water) Neeso Pah (Black Water) Nee Noshe (Standing Water) and Nee Shah (Queen) are of unknown Native American origin.
Sand Creek Massacre (on private land) On November 29, 1864, the 3rd regiment of Colorado's volunteers attacked an unsuspecting Cheyenne and Arapaho Village at Sand Creek. Over 150 Indians, mostly women and children, were killed, bringing a new wave of conflict to Colorado's high plains. Founded as New Bent's Fort and renamed Fort Wise, Fort Lyon took its existing name in 1861. Originally located 20 miles to the east, the fort was moved to its present location near Las Animas after it was flooded in 1867. Kit Carson died at the new Fort Lyon in 1868. The Camp Amache detention center operated between 1942 and 1945 and housed some 10,000 Japanese Americans evacuated from the West Coast during the anti-Japanese hysteria of World War II.

Comprising only 120 square feet, the smallest jailhouse in the United States can be seen in Haswell.
Center of a vast trading empire, Bent's Old Fort flourished between 1834 and 1849. The National Park Service operates the reconstructed forth year round. Experience the mountain man era through the fort's educational program. The Bent County Historic Courthouse in Las Animas, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is the oldest continuously operated courthouse in Colorado (since 1888).
The Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway traces a 188 mile portion of the famous trade route through one of the last strongholds of the nomadic Plains Indians and one of the toe holds of early homesteading pioneers.



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