Watrous (La Junta)

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Watrous House, Watrous vicinity (Mora County, New Mexico).jpg
Watrous House in 1940
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Location US 85, Watrous, New Mexico
Coordinates 35°48′3″N105°0′5″W / 35.80083°N 105.00139°W / 35.80083; -105.00139 Coordinates: 35°48′3″N105°0′5″W / 35.80083°N 105.00139°W / 35.80083; -105.00139
Area3,580 acres (14.5 km2)
Built1879 (1879)
Architectural style Territorial Style
NRHP reference # 66000480 [1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPOctober 15, 1966
Designated NHLDMay 23, 1963 [2]
Designated NMSRCPDecember 20, 1968

Watrous, also named La Junta, is a National Historic Landmark District near Watrous, New Mexico. It encompasses the historic junction point of the two major branches of the Santa Fe Trail, a major 19th-century frontier settlement route between St. Louis, Missouri and Santa Fe, New Mexico. La Junta, marked this junction point, as well as the first major indications of civilization before westbound travelers reached Santa Fe. The district includes a large area west of the modern community of Watrous, encompassing the confluence of the Mora and Sapello Rivers. Surviving buildings include the houses of early ranchers, as well as a stagecoach mailstop and inn. The district was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1963. [2] [3]

Watrous, New Mexico Census-designated place in New Mexico, United States

Watrous is a census-designated place in Mora County, New Mexico, United States. Its population was 135 as of the 2010 census. Watrous has a post office with ZIP code 87753, which opened on April 14, 1868. The community is located along Interstate 25.

Santa Fe Trail Transportation route through central North America that connected Franklin, Missouri with Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The Santa Fe Trail was a 19th-century transportation route through central North America that connected Franklin, Missouri with Santa Fe, New Mexico. Pioneered in 1821 by William Becknell, who departed from the Boonslick region along the Missouri River, the trail served as a vital commercial highway until the introduction of the railroad to Santa Fe in 1880. Santa Fe was near the end of the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, which carried trade from Mexico City.

Santa Fe, New Mexico State capital city in New Mexico, United States

Santa Fe is the capital of the U.S. state of New Mexico. It is the fourth-largest city in the state and the seat of Santa Fe County.


Description and history

The Santa Fe Trail was one of the major routes by which the American West was settled. It had two major branches: the Mountain Branch, which skirted north of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and crossed southward at Raton Pass, and the Cimarron Cutoff, which ran a more direct route south of mountains but across desert that was also populated by hostile Native Americans. These two routes came together to the west of the confluence of the Mora and Sapello Rivers, which is just north of present-day Watrous. The Santa Fe Trail remained in use until the 1870s, when it was supplanted by Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, whose route roughly follows the Cimarron Cutoff route. The railroad established the present-day community of Watrous east of the trail junction, after which the small community there was largely abandoned. [3]

Sangre de Cristo Mountains subrange of the Rocky Mountains in the US

The Sangre de Cristo Mountains are the southernmost subrange of the Rocky Mountains. They are located in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico in the United States. The mountains run from Poncha Pass in South-Central Colorado, trending southeast and south, ending at Glorieta Pass, southeast of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The mountains contain a number of fourteen thousand foot peaks in the Colorado portion, as well as all the peaks in New Mexico which are over thirteen thousand feet.

Raton Pass Interstate mountain pass in the United States

Ratón Pass is a 7,834 ft (2,388 m) elevation mountain pass on the Colorado-New Mexico border in the western United States. Ratón is Spanish for "mouse". It is located on the eastern side of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains between Trinidad, Colorado and Raton, New Mexico, approximately 180 miles (290 km) northeast of Santa Fe. The pass crosses the line of volcanic mesas that extends east from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains along the state line, and furnishes the most direct land route between the valley of the Arkansas River to the north and the upper valley of the Canadian River, leading to Santa Fe, to the south. The pass now carries Interstate 25 and railroad tracks.

Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Large railroad company in the United States.

The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, often referred to as the Santa Fe or AT&SF, was one of the larger railroads in the United States. Chartered in February 1859, the railroad reached the Kansas-Colorado border in 1873 and Pueblo, Colorado, in 1876. To create a demand for its services, the railroad set up real estate offices and sold farm land from the land grants that it was awarded by Congress. Despite the name, its main line never served Santa Fe, New Mexico, as the terrain was too difficult; the town ultimately was reached by a branch line from Lamy.

The community at the trail junction was known as La Junta ("the junction" in Spanish), Tiptonville, or Watrous, the latter two based on the names of two early ranchers in the area, Samuel Watrous and William Tipton. There are 21 surviving structures or foundational remains in the district, most of which were built before 1870. Important surviving structures include the ranch house and store of Samuel Watrous (now on the Watrous Valley Ranch), a similar building belonging to William Tipton, and the rancho house of William Koenig. The Koenig House, built in the 1860s on what is now known as the Phoenix Ranch, is one of the state's finest examples of Territorial architecture. There are also three small cemeteries, and the remains of three structures associated with a horse corral managed by Fort Union. [3]

Spanish language Romance language

Spanish or Castilian, is a Romance language that originated in the Iberian Peninsula and today has hundreds of millions of native speakers in Spain and the Americas. It is a global language and the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese.

Fort Union National Monument national monument in the United States

Fort Union National Monument is a unit of the National Park Service of the United States, and is located north of Watrous in Mora County, New Mexico. The national monument was founded on June 28, 1954.

See also

National Register of Historic Places listings in Mora County, New Mexico Wikimedia list article

This is a list of the National Register of Historic Places listings in Mora County, New Mexico.

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  1. "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places . National Park Service. 2010-07-09.
  2. 1 2 "Watrous (La Junta)". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-06-14.
  3. 1 2 3 Richard Greenwood, with updates by state and national staff (December 18, 1984). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Watrous (La Junta) / La Junta" (pdf). National Park Service. and Accompanying 11 photos, from 1962, 1974, and 1982  (32 KB)