Walsenburg, Colorado

Last updated
Walsenburg, Colorado
La Plaza de los Leones (Plaza of the Leons)
City of Walsenburg [1]
Walsenburg and the Spanish Peaks.JPG
Walsenburg with the Spanish Peaks in the background.
Motto(s): 
"A great place to be! Welcome!"
Huerfano County Colorado Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Walsenburg Highlighted 0882350.svg
Location of the City of Walsenburg in Huerfano County, Colorado.
Usa edcp location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Walsenburg
Location of the City of Walsenburg in the United States.
Coordinates: 37°37′36″N104°47′2″W / 37.62667°N 104.78389°W / 37.62667; -104.78389 Coordinates: 37°37′36″N104°47′2″W / 37.62667°N 104.78389°W / 37.62667; -104.78389
Country Flag of the United States.svg  United States
State Flag of Colorado.svg  Colorado
County Huerfano County [2]
City Walsenburg [1]
Incorporated June 16, 1873 [3]
Named for Fred Walsen
Government
  Type Statutory City [1]
  MayorBrian D. Lalander
  City AdministratorDustin Stambaugh
  City CouncilCharles Montoya
Nick Vigil
Greg Daniels
Clint Boehler
Donald Martinez
James Hudgens
  City ClerkVeronica Vigil
Area
[4]
  Total2.99 sq mi (7.74 km2)
  Land2.99 sq mi (7.74 km2)
  Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
Elevation
[5]
6,171 ft (1,881 m)
Population
 (2010)
  Total3,068
  Estimate 
(2019) [6]
3,029
  Density1,013.04/sq mi (391.17/km2)
Demonym(s) Walsenburger
Time zone UTC−7 (Mountain (MST))
  Summer (DST) UTC−6 (MDT)
ZIP code [7]
81089
Area code(s) 719 Exchange: 738
FIPS code 08-82350
GNIS feature ID 0204806
Website www.colorado.gov/walsenburg

The City of Walsenburg is the Statutory City that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Huerfano County, Colorado, United States. [8] [9] The city population was 3,068 at the 2010 census, [10] down from 4,182 in 2000.

Contents

Prehistory

Originally a small settlement by the name of La Plaza de los Leones, settled in 1859. The settlement was named after settler Don Miguel Antonio de Leon, who came along with others from the New Mexico region.

History

A post office called Walsenburg has been in operation since 1870. [11] The community was named after Fred Walsen, an early settler. [12] Robert Ford, the assassin of outlaw Jesse James, operated a combination saloon and gambling house in Walsenburg; his home at 320 West 7th Street still stands. [ citation needed ] The town is also remembered in sports history due to a famous newspaper gaffe ("Will Overhead") after the 1933 Indianapolis 500. [13] [14] [15]

Colorado Coalfield War

Walsenburg played a central role in the 1913-1914 Strike of the United Mine Workers of America against the Rockefeller-owned Colorado Fuel and Iron, an event better known as the Colorado Coalfield War. The town was the site of a Colorado and Southern Railway stop and location of several gun-battles before and after the 20 April 1914 Ludlow Massacre that killed over a dozen women and children when Colorado National Guard opened fire on a striker encampment at Ludlow, 22 miles south of Walsenburg. Among the first instances of violence in Walsenburg during the coal strikes is known as the Seventh Street Massacre, which saw three miners died in a shooting perpetrated by newly minted Walsenburg deputies. [16]

The Battle of Walsenburg (28-29 April 1914) was the penultimate engagement of National Guard and militia against pro-strikers during the 10-Day War stage of the conflict. [17] Several men on both sides, as well as at least one uninvolved civilian, were killed before strikers withdrew.

Walsenburg is mentioned in the Woody Guthrie song "Ludlow Massacre". [18]

21st Century

On 19 June 2013, Boy Scouts at Spanish Peaks Scout Ranch noticed an uncontrolled fire near East Spanish Peak which rapidly grew over the next few days, growing into the East Peak Fire. The entirety of Walsenburg was placed under a pre-evacuation notice. The fire burned until 13,572 acres (54.92 km2) being contained on 9 July. [19]

Geography and climate

Walsenburg is located in east-central Huerfano County, on the north side of the Cucharas River, at the eastern edge of the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Interstate 25 runs along the eastern edge of the city, with access from Exits 49, 50, and 52. I-25 leads north 48 miles (77 km) to Pueblo and south 36 miles (58 km) to Trinidad. U.S. Route 160 passes through the center of Walsenburg, leading west across North La Veta Pass 72 miles (116 km) to Alamosa and south with I-25 to Trinidad. Colorado State Highway 10 leads northeast from Walsenburg 73 miles (117 km) to La Junta.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Walsenburg has a total area of 3.2 square miles (8.2 km2), all of it land. [10]

The Spanish Peaks Regional Health Center is located 2 miles (3 km) west of Walsenburg on US 160, opposite the entrance to Lathrop State Park. The building houses a state-operated veterans' retirement home and a community hospital that serves the area.

Walsenburg has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa) with hot, rainy summers with cool nights and cool, extremely snowy winters with chilly nights.

Climate data for Walsenburg, Colorado (1981–2010)
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Average high °F (°C)48.9
(9.4)
50.6
(10.3)
57.3
(14.1)
65.8
(18.8)
74.3
(23.5)
83.4
(28.6)
87.7
(30.9)
85.1
(29.5)
79.2
(26.2)
69.1
(20.6)
56.6
(13.7)
47.2
(8.4)
67.1
(19.5)
Average low °F (°C)22.3
(−5.4)
22.9
(−5.1)
28.3
(−2.1)
34.7
(1.5)
43.2
(6.2)
51.4
(10.8)
57.3
(14.1)
56.1
(13.4)
48.2
(9.0)
37.6
(3.1)
28.8
(−1.8)
21.5
(−5.8)
37.7
(3.2)
Average precipitation inches (mm)0.84
(21)
0.89
(23)
1.96
(50)
2.04
(52)
1.86
(47)
1.54
(39)
2.04
(52)
2.34
(59)
0.93
(24)
1.19
(30)
1.19
(30)
1.00
(25)
17.81
(452)
Average snowfall inches (cm)12.7
(32)
13.4
(34)
19.8
(50)
14.6
(37)
2.6
(6.6)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.6
(1.5)
5.7
(14)
14.6
(37)
15.7
(40)
99.9
(254)
Source: NOAA [20]

Local attractions and recreation

Lathrop State Park, located 2 miles (3 km) west of the Walsenburg city limits, is Colorado's first state park and is over 1,600 acres (6.5 km2) in size. Martin Lake and Horseshoe Lake offer fishing stocked by the Colorado Division of Wildlife, water skiing, boating, and jet skiing. Hiking and camping are other activities in the park, and it is the only state park in Colorado with a golf course.[ citation needed ]

The Spanish Peaks, 10 miles (16 km) southwest of Walsenburg are a national landmark and have been named one of "Colorado's Seven Wonders" by The Denver Post . The Highway of Legends, connecting Walsenburg with La Veta, other historic mining towns, and Trinidad, is a National Scenic Byway.

The Walsenburg Golf Course is a 9-hole public golf course open for play year round. The city opened a $2 million water park, "Walsenburg Wild Waters", after efforts by former mayor Maurice Brau and the City Council, on May 27, 2007. [21]

Demographics

Historical population
CensusPop.
1880 377
1890 928146.2%
1900 1,03311.3%
1910 2,423134.6%
1920 3,56547.1%
1930 5,50354.4%
1940 5,8556.4%
1950 5,596−4.4%
1960 5,071−9.4%
1970 4,329−14.6%
1980 3,945−8.9%
1990 3,300−16.3%
2000 4,18226.7%
2010 3,068−26.6%
2019 (est.)3,029 [6] −1.3%
U.S. Decennial Census [22]

As of the census [23] of 2000, there were 4,182 people, 1,497 households, and 881 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,795.2 people per square mile (693.0/km2). There were 1,723 housing units at an average density of 739.6 per square mile (285.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 74.99% White, 4.78% African American, 3.35% Native American, 0.41% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 12.46% from other races, and 3.95% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 50.96% of the population.

There were 1,497 households, out of which 25.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.1% were married couples living together, 13.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.1% were non-families. 37.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 19.4% 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 2.95.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 20.9% under the age of 18, 9.3% from 18 to 24, 31.1% from 25 to 44, 21.2% from 45 to 64, and 17.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 133.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 141.1 males.

Education

John Mall High School is the local high school. It is the only high school in Huerfano District Re-1. In the 2012–2013 school year, [24] there was a total enrollment of 116 students. 56% of the enrollment was male and 44% was female. There was a student-to-teacher ratio of 14:1, which is lower than the Colorado state average of 16:1. 66% of the student body identified as a minority, with most of them being Hispanic. The state average of minority enrollment is 44%. 71% of the students came from an economically disadvantaged household. Over five years, the district has seen a 5% decrease in the number of students enrolled. The graduation rate [25] is 53%, which is lower than the state average of 78%. Over five years, the graduation average in the district has fallen from 71% to 57%.

Notable people

Notable individuals who were born in or have lived in Walsenburg include:

See also

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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.

Huerfano Butte

Huerfano Butte is a volcanic plug or hypabyssal plug located 8.8 miles (14.1 km) north of Walsenburg in Huerfano County, Colorado, United States. Named Huérfano by early Spanish explorers, it rises above the south side of the Huerfano River with its peak about 200 feet above the floodplain.

Colorado Coalfield War 1913-1914 labor uprising in Southern Colorado

The Colorado Coalfield War was a major labor uprising in the southern and central Colorado Front Range between September 1913 and April 1914. Striking began in late summer 1913, organized by the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) against the Rockefeller-owned Colorado Fuel and Iron (CF&I) after years of deadly working conditions and low pay. The strike was marred by targeted and indiscriminate attacks from both strikers and individuals hired by CF&I to defend its property. Conflict was focused in the southern coal-mining counties of Las Animas and Huerfano, where the Colorado and Southern railroad passed through Trinidad and Walsenburg. It followed the 1912 Northern Colorado Coalfield Strikes.

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