Huerfano County, Colorado

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Huerfano County
County of Huerfano
Huerfano County Courthouse and Jail.JPG
Huerfano County, Colorado
Interactive map of Huerfano County
Map of Colorado highlighting Huerfano County.svg
Location within the U.S. state of Colorado
CountryFlag of the United States.svg  United States
State Flag of Colorado.svg  Colorado
EstablishedNovember 1, 1861
Named for Huerfano Butte
County seat Walsenburg
Largest cityWalsenburg
Area
  Total1,593 sq mi (4,130 km2)
  Land1,591 sq mi (4,120 km2)
  Water2.2 sq mi (6 km2)  0.1%
Highest elevation
[1]
14,351 ft (4,374 m)
Population
  Estimate 
(2019)
6,897
  Density4.2/sq mi (1.6/km2)
Time zone UTC−7 (Mountain)
  Summer (DST) UTC−6 (MDT)
Area code 719
FIPS code08055
GNIS feature ID 198143
Website www.huerfano.us

Huerfano County ( /ˈwɛərfən/ ; Spanish pronunciation:  [ˈweɾfano] ) is one of the 64 counties in the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 6,711. [2] The county seat is Walsenburg. [3] The county, whose name comes from the Spanish huérfano meaning "orphan", was named for the Huerfano Butte, a local landmark. The area of Huerfano County boomed early in the 1900s with the discovery of large coal deposits. After large scale World War II coal demand ended in the 1940s Walsenburg and Huerfano saw a steady economic decline through 2015.

Contents

Historical

Huerfano County was one of the original 17 counties created by the Territory of Colorado on November 1, 1861, and was originally larger than its present size. On November 2, 1870, the Colorado General Assembly created Greenwood County from former Cheyenne and Arapaho tribal land and the eastern portion of Huerfano County. There are countless reports of vast New Spain and Native American gold treasures that lay hidden in the hills and mountains of Huerfano County including the Arapahoe Princess Treasure. Two Spanish forts were located in Huerfano County.

Colorado Coalfield War

Huerfano County and neighboring Las Animas County were the central locations of the 1913-1914 United Mine Workers of America strike against the Rockefeller-owned Colorado Fuel and Iron company, which is now referred to as the Colorado Coalfield War.

Walsenburg and other stops on the Colorado and Southern Railway proved strategically important for both strikers and the Colorado National Guard, resulting in multiple gun-battles in around towns with stops.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,593 square miles (4,130 km2), of which 1,591 square miles (4,120 km2) is land and 2.2 square miles (5.7 km2) (0.1%) is water. [4] The price of property saw an increase of more than 10% after a moratorium on commercial marijuana grows was lifted in July 2015.

Adjacent counties

Major Highways

Protected areas

Scenic byway

Attractions and recreation

The county's tourism board brands the county as "Southern Colorado's Spanish Peaks Country." [5] Visitors are attracted to the Spanish Peaks and the many mountain-related activities they offer, such as mountain climbing, hiking, hunting, and sightseeing. In addition, the western part of the county offers the peaks of the Sangre de Cristo Range, a range that includes several fourteeners.

The towns of La Veta and Cuchara offer art galleries and lodging. [6]

A new county park — the Cuchara Mountain Park — opened in 2017, repurposing property that used to be the now-defunct Cuchara Ski Resort. [7]

Huerfano County is a geologist's paradise. Over 500 dikes surround the Spanish Peaks. [8] Many other geological formations, such as the Dakota Formation, are visible in the county. [9]

Lathrop State Park offers hiking, camping, picnicking, and fishing. [10] Adjacent to the park, the city of Walsenburg offers a public, nine-hole golf course. [11]

Demographics

Historical population
CensusPop.
1870 2,250
1880 4,12483.3%
1890 6,88266.9%
1900 8,39522.0%
1910 13,32058.7%
1920 16,87926.7%
1930 17,0621.1%
1940 16,088−5.7%
1950 10,549−34.4%
1960 7,867−25.4%
1970 6,590−16.2%
1980 6,440−2.3%
1990 6,009−6.7%
2000 7,86230.8%
2010 6,711−14.6%
2019 (est.)6,897 [12] 2.8%
U.S. Decennial Census [13]
1790-1960 [14] 1900-1990 [15]
1990-2000 [16] 2010-2015 [2]

As of the census [17] of 2000, there were 7,862 people, 3,082 households, and 1,920 families residing in the county. The population density was 5 people per square mile (2/km2). There were 4,599 housing units at an average density of 3 per square mile (1/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 80.96% White, 2.75% Black or African American, 2.70% Native American, 0.39% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 9.41% from other races, and 3.71% from two or more races. 35.14% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 3,082 households, out of which 25.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.40% were married couples living together, 10.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.70% were non-families. 32.80% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.25 and the average family size was 2.85.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 20.90% under the age of 18, 7.30% from 18 to 24, 27.40% from 25 to 44, 27.40% from 45 to 64, and 17.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 118.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 122.80 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $25,775, and the median income for a family was $32,664. Males had a median income of $24,209 versus $21,048 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,242. About 14.10% of families and 18.00% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.70% of those under age 18 and 11.90% of those age 65 or over.

Politics

A Democratic stronghold for much of the 20th century, Huerfano has become a competitive swing county in recent elections. After only backing Al Gore by 29 votes in 2000, the county voted for the winner of each presidential race between 2004 and 2016 before narrowly staying in the Donald Trump column in 2020. This 21st-century shift to the right is more in line with other rural counties, both statewide and nationwide.

Presidential elections results
Huerfano County vote
by party in presidential elections
[18]
Year Republican Democratic Others
2020 50.0%2,20347.1% 2,0762.9% 127
2016 49.8%1,88343.2% 1,6337.1% 267
2012 44.2% 1,64652.5%1,9533.3% 124
2008 43.4% 1,58054.6%1,9892.0% 74
2004 50.1%1,70148.8% 1,6561.2% 39
2000 46.2% 1,46647.1%1,4956.7% 213
1996 35.9% 99653.4%1,48310.7% 297
1992 29.6% 68552.9%1,22417.5% 404
1988 36.3% 1,07963.1%1,8760.5% 16
1984 49.0% 1,58149.7%1,6021.3% 41
1980 41.5% 1,25851.9%1,5746.6% 200
1976 37.4% 1,18261.0%1,9321.6% 51
1972 53.5%1,62044.3% 1,3412.2% 66
1968 35.1% 1,13360.0%1,9344.9% 157
1964 24.6% 89575.2%2,7340.1% 5
1960 33.7% 1,36766.0%2,6730.3% 13
1956 47.9% 2,09151.8%2,2620.3% 12
1952 43.8% 2,17855.8%2,7730.3% 17
1948 34.0% 1,84163.7%3,4482.2% 121
1944 39.1% 2,11960.6%3,2900.3% 18
1940 40.7% 2,73859.0%3,9740.4% 24
1936 32.2% 2,29967.2%4,7930.6% 44
1932 36.9% 2,49061.7%4,1591.4% 95
1928 49.2% 3,26050.4%3,3430.5% 30
1924 49.1%2,78421.5% 1,21929.4% 1,669
1920 51.4%2,53946.4% 2,2912.2% 108
1916 42.9% 2,02755.7%2,6321.4% 68
1912 63.3%2,81428.7% 1,2777.9% 353

Communities

Eastern Sangre de Cristo Range, Huerfano County Eastern Sangre de Cristo Range.jpg
Eastern Sangre de Cristo Range, Huerfano County

City

Town

Census-designated place

Unincorporated communities

Ghost towns

See also

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La Veta, Colorado Statutory Town in Colorado, United States

The Town of La Veta is a statutory town in Huerfano County, Colorado, United States. The town population was 800 as of the 2010 United States Census.

Walsenburg, Colorado Statutory City in Colorado, United States

The City of Walsenburg is the Statutory City that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Huerfano County, Colorado, United States. The city population was 3,068 at the 2010 census, down from 4,182 in 2000.

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Cuchara, Colorado Unincorporated town in Huerfano County, Colorado

Cuchara is an unincorporated community in Huerfano County, Colorado, United States. It is located near a former ski resort in the mountains south of the town of La Veta. Its altitude is 8,468 feet (2,581 m). State Highway 12 travels through Cuchara as it approaches Trinidad to the southeast.

Cucharas River

Cucharas River is a 75-mile-long (121 km) tributary of the Huerfano River that flows from a source in Huerfano County, Colorado, southwest of the Spanish Peaks in San Isabel National Forest. The river passes through La Veta and Walsenburg before joining the Huerfano River in Pueblo County.

References

  1. Blanca Peak Tripoint
  2. 1 2 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
  3. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  4. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  5. "Southern Colorado's Spanish Peaks Country". Huerfano County. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
  6. "Galleries and artists". La Veta Cuchara Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
  7. Knowles, Bill (September 17, 2017). "Cuchara Mountain Park ribbon cutting informal and well attended". Huerfano World Journal. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
  8. "Dikes". Colorado Geological Survey. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
  9. Johnson, Ross B. (1959). Geology of the Huerfano Park Area: Huerfano and Custer Counties, Colorado (PDF). Washington: United States Government Printing Office.
  10. "Lathrop StatePark". Come to Life Colorado™. State of Colorado. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
  11. "Walsenburg Golf Course". City of Walsenburg. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
  12. "Population and Housing Unit Estimates" . Retrieved December 3, 2019.
  13. "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  14. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  15. "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  16. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  17. "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau . Retrieved May 14, 2011.
  18. Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved May 26, 2017.

Coordinates: 37°41′N104°58′W / 37.69°N 104.96°W / 37.69; -104.96