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Boggsville History

150 YEARS OF HISTORY

Boggsville played an important, and brief, role in the development of Southeast Colorado. The settlement’s local and regional historic value was recognized by its inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, as an early Colorado agricultural and trade center, and is also a certified site on the Santa Fe National Historic Trail.

Boggsville was established in 1866, but the history of its location has been written about numerous times prior to Thomas Boggs settling here. Zebulon Pike made entries in his diary on November 15, 1806 about camping on the banks of the Purgatoire some two miles south of the Arkansas River. Major Long reported camping in the valley of lost souls in Purgatoire in1820. The trader and explorer Jacob Fowler camped at the mouth of the Purgatoire on November 13, 1821 and recorded that the Kiowa’s were established in the area. Early explorers enjoyed the native beauty of the valley, as it provided food and shelter for them, and a place to rest their horses so as to regain their strength on the rich grasses.

Thomas Boggs first came to the region in 1840, and worked at Bent’s Old Fort for about 6 years as a trader. During this period he learned to speak the languages of 11 Indians tribes, and Spanish. He was considered by William Bent as the most useful and trustworthy of plainsman of the time. In 1858 Thomas was employed by Lucien B. Maxwell in Cimarron, New Mexico. It was around this time that he brought some sheep and cattle to the Purgatoire River in the spring and summer time. Recognizing that the area was ripe for ranching he acquired land from Vigil & St. Vrain/Las Animas Mexican land grant by way of his wife Rumalda, and they built a house on the Purgatoire River in 1862. In 1866 they built a more substantial adobe building to house them and additional structures for employees or tenants who helped supported the agricultural and business operations.

John W. Prowers came from Missouri in 1856, and also found employment with William Bent. He worked as a store clerk and later as an Indian agent at Bent’s new fort. When Fort Lyons was moved to its present location in 1867, Prowers realized the importance of being near the Fort, he knew a ready market for fresh vegetables and beef was needed. So, in late 1867 he moved to Boggsville and started raising crops and livestock to sell to the army, had a two-story adobe house built in 1868 at Boggsville. He also secured a contract for a stagecoach station, built a store, and helped improve the farming enterprise to help supply food to the army at Fort Lyons.

Kit Carson a good friend of Thomas Boggs secured his own land grant south of Boggsville and also moved to Boggsville in late 1867, and lived in the first house Boggs had built in 1862.

Boggsville became the gathering place for settlers not only for protection from Indians, but also for social gatherings. Being most active between 1866 and 1873 there were over 30 buildings at one time that housed the farmers, cowboys, store clerks, school teacher, and many more people to support the small community. In 1873 the railroad established a railhead in the new town of West Las Animas, two miles to the north of Boggsville. West Las Animas quickly grew and as a result Boggsville’s importance died out as a prominent place for the local people.

Boggs and his family moved to Springer New Mexico in 1877, when the land grant he had gotten back in 1862 was disputed. He sold out to John Lee for $13,000. Over the years it has passed to various owners and lessees. In 1985 Alta Page gave the land to the Pioneer Historical Society of Bent County. The Boggs and the Prowers houses were in great disrepair at that time, so a committee was established to reconstruct both houses. By 1993 both houses had been restored to reflect their hay day style of 1866-68. Unfortunately, due to the lack of capital, the houses are showing the stress of age.

Funds for a long range strategic plan for this historic site can help keep Boggsville from falling into disrepair again. We are working with interpretive consultants to replace and upgrade the existing interpretive signs since many of them are severely weather damaged. The Bents Old Fort Chapter of the Santa Fe trail Association, does a cleanup one day ever year before we open for the season. We have future plans to move the RV site’s and establish camp ground with restrooms, and a maintenance facility to help enhance the visitor’s experience.

Boggsville

TAKE HWY 101 SOUTH FROM LAS ANIMAS FOR 2 MILES & FOLLOW SIGNS

RV SITES WITH FULL HOOK UPS   $20 INCLUDES HOOKUPS
CAMP SITES   $ 10 A NIGHT
Bathrooms and Showers available on site
CONTACT INFO: 719-456-1358     Email: boggsville@gmail.com   FACEBOOK: BOGGSVILLE, LANDMARK

Boggsville History

150 YEARS OF HISTORY Boggsville played an important, and brief, role in the development of Southeast Colorado. The settlement's local and regional historic value was recognized by its inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, as an early Colorado agricultural and trade center, and is also a certified site on the Santa Fe National Historic Trail. Boggsville was established in 1866, but the history of its location has been written about numerous times prior to Thomas Boggs settling here. Zebulon Pike made entries in his diary on November 15, 1806 about camping on the banks of the Purgatoire some two miles south of the Arkansas River. Major Long reported camping in the valley of lost souls in Purgatoire in1820. The trader and explorer Jacob Fowler camped at the mouth of the Purgatoire on November 13, 1821 and recorded that the Kiowa's were established in the area. Early explorers enjoyed the native beauty of the valley, as it provided food and shelter for them, and a place to rest their horses so as to regain their strength on the rich grasses. Thomas Boggs first came to the region in 1840, and worked at Bent's Old Fort for about 6 years as a trader. During this period he learned to speak the languages of 11 Indians tribes, and Spanish. He was considered by William Bent as the most useful and trustworthy of plainsman of the time. In 1858 Thomas was employed by Lucien B. Maxwell in Cimarron, New Mexico. It was around this time that he brought some sheep and cattle to the Purgatoire River in the spring and summer time. Recognizing that the area was ripe for ranching he acquired land from Vigil & St. Vrain/Las Animas Mexican land grant by way of his wife Rumalda, and they built a ...
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Mission Statement

The Bent County Historical Society (BHS) preserves the history and heritage of Bent County through the facilitation of the Bent County Chronicle, Art Guild, programs and activities that interpret the culture and architectural history of the region, the operation and preservation of the John W. Rawlings Heritage Center and Museum and Boggsville Historical Site. BHS supports organizations that promote the mission of BHS.

History of the Bent County Historical Society (formerly The Pioneer Historical Society of Bent County)

The Bent County Historical Society (BHS) exists to promote the unique history and culture of Bent County to a multigenerational audience. Founded in 1957 and officially becoming a non-profit in 1968, BHS operates the John W. Rawlings Heritage Center & Museum, the Boggsville National Historical Site, the Old Trail Art Gallery housed at the Museum, and assists with tourism at the Kit Carson Chapel at Fort Lyon. The Heritage Library at the Center provides research assistance in local history and genealogy. Our goal is to offer programs and events that demonstrate the diverse cultural history of the area, highlighting programs that show its impact on the economic and cultural development of Colorado and the southeastern plains.

The Historical Society operated the Kit Carson Museum from April 28, 1961, at 9th and Bent, which served as the headquarters of the society. The old Museum was closed in 2009 and reopened at 560 Bent Avenue as the John W. Rawlings Heritage Center & Museum. In 2017, the Society changed their name to Bent County Historical Society and is proud to serve you! Please call 719-456-6066 if you have any questions.

Bent County Art Guild

Bent County Art Guild

Community members started the Bent County Art Guild (BCAG) in 2003. A valued partner of the Bent County Historical Society, BCAG members showcase their artistic talents by selling individual items in the Old Trail Gallery.

Gallery items are varied and include carvings, quilts, paintings, photographs, and jewelry. BCAG members conduct art classes such as gourd painting, wreath creating, oil and watercolor painting to name a few.

The annual Santa Fe Trail Day Art Show and other events and dinners hosted by BCAG help finance commitments in the Museum and at Boggsville. Events and fundraisers encourage community togetherness and get people “out of their box” to try something new!

BCAG meets on the 2nd Wednesday of each month at 1:30 to plan events and exhibits.

Join the fun by calling Linda Bourne, President,
719-688-2508 or email: grandma51@hotmail.com

Bent County Chronicle

Bent County Chronicle History
by Kathleen Tomlin, Editor

In 2005 after retiring from the Veterans Administration, I asked the Pioneer Historical Society of Bent County Board if we could publish a quarterly newsletter that would inform the public about Historical Society projects, capture more stories from people who have lived in Bent County, and work towards a second Bent County History Book. They endorsed the project enthusiastically and 38 Chronicles later, here we are! With the first edition, there were 65 members and now there are over 400 members. We have featured the stories of 56 veterans and the stories and hardships of more than 38 families whose stories were not told in the first Bent County History book. What an interesting ride it has been!!
The Chronicle has connected members not only locally, but from all over the United States and Spain with proud roots in Las Animas. We have watched with interest as the old “Kit Carson Museum” closed and the new “John W. Rawlings Heritage Center & Museum” developed and opened in 2010. The renovated building and landscaped Bell Park provide not only history and cultural events, but provide a meeting place for the community. Readers have learned about the struggles and history of Boggsville through the “Boggsville Times” and can read about the activities of our partners, the Bent County Art Guild and the Las Animas-Bent County Library District.
Member Tencha Avila just recently said, “We appreciate the steady dedicated work of those who work on The Chronicle for the legacy of those who helped form Bent County and Las Animas.  Thank you for helping to hold it together.”
Another great accomplishment has been the opening of the Heritage Library where all the historical information is preserved. Please check the library tab for more information on the Library. We are now the Bent County Historical Society and we would appreciate your support!
PLEASE JOIN THE BENT COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY AND ENJOY THE PUBLICATIONS OF THE BENT COUNTY CHRONICLE!!
Published 3 times annually

Events


National Park Service - Event Calendar Event Calendar Feed for Bent's Old Fort

  • Trails and Rails Trips
    on January 1, 1970 at 12:00 am

    May 20, 2018 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM - Narrated excursions aboard Amtrak's Southwest Chief from La Junta, Colorado to Albuquerque, New Mexico on Fridays and Sundays May 8 to September 5, 2016. […]

  • Trails and Rails Trips
    on January 1, 1970 at 12:00 am

    May 26, 2018 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM - Narrated excursions aboard Amtrak's Southwest Chief from La Junta, Colorado to Albuquerque, New Mexico on Fridays and Sundays May 8 to September 5, 2016. […]

  • Trails and Rails Trips
    on January 1, 1970 at 12:00 am

    May 27, 2018 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM - Narrated excursions aboard Amtrak's Southwest Chief from La Junta, Colorado to Albuquerque, New Mexico on Fridays and Sundays May 8 to September 5, 2016. […]

  • Trails and Rails Trips
    on January 1, 1970 at 12:00 am

    June 2, 2018 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM - Narrated excursions aboard Amtrak's Southwest Chief from La Junta, Colorado to Albuquerque, New Mexico on Fridays and Sundays May 8 to September 5, 2016. […]

  • Trails and Rails Trips
    on January 1, 1970 at 12:00 am

    June 3, 2018 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM - Narrated excursions aboard Amtrak's Southwest Chief from La Junta, Colorado to Albuquerque, New Mexico on Fridays and Sundays May 8 to September 5, 2016. […]


Boggsville opens for Santa Fe Trail Day
Boggsville will be open during the month of April 27 from Friday through Sunday, from 10:00 AM-4:00 PM. Beginning Memorial Day the site opens full time seven days a week. June – October.