Las Animas, Colorado

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Las Animas, Colorado
City of Las Animas [1]
Las Animas, CO, City Hall IMG 5734.JPG
Las Animas City Hall.
Nickname(s): 
The City of Souls
Bent County Colorado Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Las Animas Highlighted 0843660.svg
Location of the City of Las Animas in Bent County, Colorado.
Usa edcp location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Las Animas
Location of the City of Las Animas in the United States.
Coordinates: 38°4′1″N103°13′33″W / 38.06694°N 103.22583°W / 38.06694; -103.22583 Coordinates: 38°4′1″N103°13′33″W / 38.06694°N 103.22583°W / 38.06694; -103.22583
Country Flag of the United States.svg  United States
State Flag of Colorado.svg  Colorado
County Bent County [2]
City Las Animas [1]
Incorporated May 15, 1886 [3]
Government
  Type Statutory City [1]
   Mayor Jim Collins [4]
Area
[5]
  Total1.67 sq mi (4.33 km2)
  Land1.63 sq mi (4.21 km2)
  Water0.05 sq mi (0.12 km2)
Elevation
[6]
3,898 ft (1,188 m)
Population
 (2010)
  Total2,410
  Estimate 
(2019) [7]
2,165
  Density1,331.49/sq mi (513.99/km2)
Time zone UTC−7 (Mountain (MST))
  Summer (DST) UTC−6 (MDT)
ZIP code [8]
81054
Area code(s) 719
FIPS code 08-43660
GNIS feature ID 0195526
Website www.colorado.gov/cityoflasanimas

The City of Las Animas is the Statutory City that is the county seat and the only incorporated municipality in Bent County, Colorado, United States. [9] The city population was 2,410 at the 2010 United States Census. [10] Las Animas is located on the Arkansas River, just west of its confluence with the Purgatoire River (or "Purgatory River"), in southeast Colorado east of Pueblo, near the historic Bent's Fort.

Contents

Etymology

According to legend, the town and the Purgatoire River were named after a group of conquistadors, probably part of Coronado's expedition, who died without the last rites sacrament of a priest. According to Catholic belief, their souls would go to Purgatory as a result. The original Spanish name for Las Ánimas ("The Souls," in Spanish) was purported to be[ citation needed ]La Ciudad de Las Ánimas Perdidas en Purgatorio, "The city of lost souls in Purgatory."

However, according to author Morris F. Taylor, this is not consistent with Spanish Catholic belief, but a French Catholic belief. [11] The Spanish version, El Río de las Ánimas Perdidas en Purgatorio, was considered an embellishment of the French version. No 19th-century map shows this full Spanish name or any translation of it. Existing maps have different names for the river: Río de Las Ánimas, Purgatory River, and "Picatoire", a corruption of Purgatoire (which today is anglicized as Picketwire). French fur traders of the 19th century referred to the river as the Purgatoire. Another anglicization was Pick of Ware.

History

Early settlement

Gantt's Picket Post, also known as Fort Gantt, was built near the present-day Las Animas in 1832, operating as a trading post until 1834. [12] The second Fort Lyon military post was built in Las Animas in 1867. It operated until 1897. [13]

Water issues

Water is a central issue in Las Animas. Like many cities in southeastern Colorado, Las Animas competes with wealthier cities on the Front Range for the water to sustain life and the local agricultural economy. Developers and municipalities have capitalized upon drought and low crop prices by buying water from desperate farmers. As this water is diverted upstream to serve the larger cities, Las Animas loses access to this important resource.

Because of the poor quality of the city's water supply, a reverse-osmosis filtration plant was installed in the mid-1990s. [14] The loss of minerals in the water resulted in the collapse of many water mains, which had been supported by mineral deposits that formed on the insides of the pipes.[ citation needed ]

Geography

U.S. Post Office in Las Animas U.S. Post Office, Las Animas, CO IMG 5736.JPG
U.S. Post Office in Las Animas

Las Animas is located in northwest Bent County at 38°4′1″N103°13′33″W / 38.06694°N 103.22583°W / 38.06694; -103.22583 (38.066980, -103.225937), [15] along the Arkansas River. U.S. Highway 50 is the main highway through the city, leading west 82 miles (132 km) to Pueblo and east 36 miles (58 km) to Lamar.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.7 square miles (4.3 km2), of which 1.6 square miles (4.2 km2) is land and 0.039 square miles (0.1 km2), or 2.75%, is water. [10]

Climate

Las Animas is often one of the warmest cities in Colorado, however winters can still be quite cold. The record low temperature in Las Animas of −32 °F (−35.6 °C) occurred most recently on January 28, 1948. The record high temperature for Las Animas is 114 °F (45.6 °C) and occurred most recently on June 24, 2012. [16] Each year there are roughly 83 afternoons that hit 90 °F (32.2 °C) or hotter, with 22 reaching at least 100 °F or 37.8 °C. The record for lowest maximum temperature was on December 20, 1924, when the high was −8 °F (−22.2 °C). On the other end of the spectrum, Las Animas’ hottest minimum temperature occurred August 2, 1935, with a low of 89 °F (31.7 °C).

Climate data for Las Animas 1991-2020 normals, extremes 1893-
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °F (°C)84
(29)
85
(29)
94
(34)
100
(38)
106
(41)
114
(46)
114
(46)
110
(43)
106
(41)
99
(37)
90
(32)
88
(31)
114
(46)
Average high °F (°C)47.8
(8.8)
51.6
(10.9)
61.8
(16.6)
69.6
(20.9)
79.2
(26.2)
90.0
(32.2)
94.5
(34.7)
91.7
(33.2)
84.6
(29.2)
71.3
(21.8)
58.2
(14.6)
47.6
(8.7)
70.7
(21.5)
Average low °F (°C)15.5
(−9.2)
19.3
(−7.1)
28.1
(−2.2)
36.8
(2.7)
47.5
(8.6)
57.8
(14.3)
63.0
(17.2)
61.1
(16.2)
51.9
(11.1)
37.4
(3.0)
24.9
(−3.9)
16.0
(−8.9)
38.3
(3.5)
Record low °F (°C)−32
(−36)
−31
(−35)
−26
(−32)
5
(−15)
17
(−8)
32
(0)
32
(0)
34
(1)
22
(−6)
−1
(−18)
−14
(−26)
−32
(−36)
−32
(−36)
Average precipitation inches (mm)0.38
(9.7)
0.32
(8.1)
0.78
(20)
1.36
(35)
1.69
(43)
1.81
(46)
2.63
(67)
1.82
(46)
0.93
(24)
1.10
(28)
0.40
(10)
0.36
(9.1)
13.58
(345.9)
Average snowfall inches (cm)3.9
(9.9)
2.3
(5.8)
3.3
(8.4)
0.4
(1.0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
1.5
(3.8)
1.9
(4.8)
2.9
(7.4)
16.2
(41.1)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)2.73.14.55.46.96.57.36.84.34.32.82.757.3
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)1.81.81.20.3000000.41.11.98.5
Source 1: NOAA [17]
Source 2: NCEI [18]

Demographics

Historical population
CensusPop.
1880 52
1890 6111,075.0%
1900 1,19295.1%
1910 2,00868.5%
1920 2,25212.2%
1930 2,51711.8%
1940 3,23228.4%
1950 3,223−0.3%
1960 3,4025.6%
1970 3,148−7.5%
1980 2,818−10.5%
1990 2,481−12.0%
2000 2,75811.2%
2010 2,410−12.6%
2019 (est.)2,165 [7] −10.2%
U.S. Decennial Census [19]
St. Mary's Catholic Church in Las Animas St. Mary's Catholic Church in Las Animas, CO (Photo 2) IMG 5727.JPG
St. Mary's Catholic Church in Las Animas

As of the census [20] of 2000, there were 2,758 people, 1,091 households, and 716 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,134.2 people per square mile (825.5/km2). There were 1,264 housing units at an average density of 978.1 per square mile (378.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 74.87% White, 0.91% African American, 2.86% Native American, 0.58% Asian, 15.34% from other races, and 5.44% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 42.60% of the population.

There were 1,091 households, out of which 31.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.0% were married couples living together, 14.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.3% were non-families. 30.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 3.04.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 27.3% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 24.0% from 25 to 44, 22.2% from 45 to 64, and 17.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 117.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $26,157, and the median income for a family was $29,815. Males had a median income of $26,168 versus $23,250 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,893. About 19.7% of families and 25.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 39.3% of those under age 18 and 14.4% of those age 65 or over.

Santa Fe Trail Day

Las Animas sits along the Mountain Branch of the Santa Fe Trail and served as the major city in southeast Colorado until the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad established operations in La Junta, 20 miles (32 km) to the west of Las Animas.

Las Animas celebrates an annual Santa Fe Trail Day, a celebration of the pioneers and traders who used this trail. This local holiday is the oldest student council-sponsored event in the US. The Las Animas High School Student Council organizes the day, with assistance from the Bent County Chamber of Commerce. Festivities have included a parade, a costume contest, square dancing, a demolition derby, and a traditional "Ranchburger" lunch, as well as many other activities. In past years, students have spread out events over a two-day period, sometimes making this a weekend event. The event occurs on the last Friday in April.

On April 24, 2009, Las Animas celebrated its 75th Annual Santa Fe Trail Day with events throughout the weekend. Past Santa Fe Trail Day Queen Royalty, dating to the 1940s, were invited, as well as Student Council Presidents since 1944.

Education

Columbian Elementary School (1916), photographed 2005 Columbian Elementary School.jpg
Columbian Elementary School (1916), photographed 2005

Columbian Elementary School

Built in 1916 to replace the old Columbian School (1887), Columbian Elementary School was the only building of Spanish architecture style in Las Animas. It was also the only open-courtyard school in the state of Colorado. In 2004, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places because of its significance, and, needing renovation for continued use, it was on the 2004 Colorado Preservation, Inc. List of Endangered Places. [21] [22] [23] [24]

Considered by the School Board and all but a handful of citizens to be too costly to renovate, this 90-year-old building was demolished on February 21, 2006. [22] Following demolition, the school was delisted on July 26, 2006. [21] [25] The city constructed a new elementary school just west of the old school location.

Transportation

Las Animas is incorporated into the Bustang's network. It is part of Lamar-Pueblo-Colorado Springs Outrider line. [26]

Notable people

Notable individuals who were born in or have lived in Las Animas include fur trader and rancher William Bent, [27] actor and singer Ken Curtis, [28] and editor and arts patron Mari Yoriko Sabusawa. [29]

See also

Related Research Articles

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Otero County, Colorado County in Colorado, United States

Otero County is one of the 64 counties of the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 18,831. The county seat is La Junta. The county was named for Miguel Antonio Otero, one of the founders of the town of La Junta and a member of a prominent Hispanic family.

Las Animas County, Colorado County in Colorado, United States

Las Animas County is one of the 64 counties in the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 15,507. The county seat is Trinidad. The county takes its name from the Mexican Spanish name of the Purgatoire River, originally called El Río de las Ánimas Perdidas en el Purgatorio, which means "River of the Lost Souls in Purgatory."

Bent County, Colorado County in Colorado, United States

Bent County is one of the 64 counties of the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 6,499. The county seat and only incorporated municipality is Las Animas. The county is named in honor of frontier trader William Bent.

Durango, Colorado Home Rule Municipality in Colorado, United States

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Trinidad, Colorado Home Rule Municipality in Colorado, United States

The City of Trinidad is the Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Las Animas County, Colorado, United States. The population was 9,096 as of the 2010 census, up slightly from 9,078 in 2000. The estimate as of 2018 was 8,211. Trinidad lies 21 mi (34 km) north of Raton, New Mexico, and 195 mi (314 km) south of Denver. It is on the historic Santa Fe Trail.

La Junta, Colorado Home Rule Municipality in Colorado, United States

The City of La Junta is the Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Otero County, Colorado, United States. The city population was 7,077 at the 2010 United States Census. La Junta is located on the Arkansas River in southeastern Colorado 68 miles (109 km) east of Pueblo.

Lamar, Colorado Home Rule Municipality in Colorado, United States

The City of Lamar is the Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Prowers County, Colorado, United States. The city population was 7,804 at the 2010 United States Census. The city was named after Confederate slaveholder Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar II during the period that he was Secretary of the Interior in the futile hope that the then town would be named as the land office.

William Bent

William Wells Bent was a frontier trader and rancher in the American West, with forts in Colorado. He also acted as a mediator among the Cheyenne Nation, other Native American tribes and the expanding United States. With his brothers, Bent established a trade business along the Santa Fe Trail. In the early 1830s Bent built an adobe fort, called Bent's Fort, along the Arkansas River in present-day Colorado. Furs, horses and other goods were traded for food and other household goods by travelers along the Santa Fe trail, fur-trappers, and local Mexican and Native American people. Bent negotiated a peace among the many Plains tribes north and south of the Arkansas River, as well as between the Native American and the United States government.

Comanche National Grassland

Comanche National Grassland is a National Grassland located in southeastern Colorado, United States. It is the sister grassland of Cimarron National Grassland and contains both prairie grasslands and canyons. It is separated into two sections, each operated by a local ranger district, one of which is in Springfield and the other of which is in La Junta. The grassland is administered by the Forest Service together with the Pike and San Isabel National Forests, and the Cimarron National Grassland, from common headquarters located in Pueblo, Colorado.

South-Central Colorado Place in Colorado, United States

South-Central Colorado is a region of the U.S. state of Colorado. It can be roughly defined by Chaffee County in the northwest, El Paso County in the northeast, Las Animas County in the southeast, and Conejos County in the southwest. Some notable towns and cities there include Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Cripple Creek, Cañon City, Salida, Buena Vista, Monte Vista, Alamosa, Walsenburg, and Trinidad. The landscapes of South-Central Colorado were made known to the Western world by the explorations of Zebulon Pike and Kit Carson, who were later followed by settlers, many of whom came by the Santa Fe Trail. The upper tributaries of the Arkansas River and South Platte River provide ample whitewater rafting and are famous for trout and bass fishing in scenic settings such as Royal Gorge. Much of the local economic system is dependent on mining, forestry, ranching, and tourism related to these endeavors. South-Central Colorado has so far largely escaped urbanization, allowing visitors to experience something of the American Old West.

Hoehne, Colorado Census Designated Place in Colorado, United States

Hoehne is an unincorporated town, a post office, and a census-designated place (CDP) located in and governed by Las Animas County, Colorado, United States. The Hoehne post office has the ZIP Code 81046. At the United States Census 2010, the population of the Hoehne CDP was 111.

Purgatoire River

The Purgatoire River is a river in southeastern Colorado, United States. The river is also known locally as the Purgatory River or the Picketwire River. Purgatoire means Purgatory in French. French trappers named the river to commemorate Spanish explorers killed in a Native American attack.

Boggsville, Colorado Town in State of Colorado, United States

Boggsville is a former settlement in Bent County, Colorado, USA near the Purgatoire River about 3 miles (4.8 km) above the Purgatoire's confluence with the Arkansas River. It was established in 1866. The surviving structures are among the earliest examples of Territorial architecture in Colorado. Boggsville was the last home of frontiersman Kit Carson before his death in 1868 at Fort Lyon. The U.S. Post Office at Las Animas now serves Boggsville postal addresses.

The early history of the Arkansas Valley in Colorado prior to the Colorado Gold Rush of 1859 saw a number of trading posts and small settlements established in the Arkansas and South Platte valleys including Bent's Fort and Fort Pueblo

El Moro, Colorado Census Designated Place in Colorado, United States

El Moro is an unincorporated community and a census-designated place (CDP) located in and governed by Las Animas County, Colorado, United States. The population of the El Moro CDP was 221 at the United States Census 2010. The Trinidad post office serves the area.

Stonewall Gap, Colorado Census Designated Place in Colorado, United States

Stonewall Gap is an unincorporated community and a census-designated place (CDP) located in and governed by Las Animas County, Colorado, United States. The population of the Stonewall Gap CDP was 67 at the United States Census 2010. The Weston post office serves the area.

Bents New Fort United States historic place

Bent's New Fort was a historic fort and trading post along the banks of the Arkansas River in what is now Bent County, Colorado, about nine miles west of Lamar, on the Mountain Route branch of the Santa Fe Trail. William Bent operated a trading post with limited success at the site and in 1860 leased the fort to the United States government, which operated it as a military outpost until 1867. In 1862, it was named Fort Lyon. The fort was abandoned after a flood of the Arkansas River in 1867.

Amache Prowers

Amache Ochinee Prowers, also known as Walking Woman (1846–1905), was a Native American activist, advocate, cattle rancher, and operator of a store on the Santa Fe Trail. Her father was a Cheyenne peace chief who was killed during the Sand Creek massacre on November 29, 1864, after which she became a mediator between Colorado territorial settlers, Mexicans, and Native Americans during the 1860s and 1870s. She was inducted into the Colorado Women's Hall of Fame in 2018.

John Wesley Prowers

John Wesley Prowers was an American trader, cattle rancher, legislator, and businessman in the territory and state of Colorado. Married to Amache Prowers, a Cheyenne woman, his father-in-law was a Cheyenne chief who negotiated for peace and was killed during the Sand Creek massacre.

References

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  20. "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau . Retrieved 2008-01-31.
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  28. "Ken Curtis - Biography". IMDb. Retrieved 2016-06-23.
  29. "James Michener's Wife Dies". The New York Times. 1994-09-27. Retrieved 2016-06-23.