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About Pueblo, Colorado
El Pueblo was once a favorite winter campground of western Native Americans. They favored a location at the confluence of (Fountaine Qui Bouille) Fountain Creek and the (Napesta) Arkansas River.
“Founded in 1842 on the Arkansas River—which divided the United States from Mexico—El Pueblo was an important cultural crossroads of the Southwest. Here lived Anglo, French, and African-American trappers and traders; Mexican settlers and their families; and Plains, Iroquois, Delaware, and Cherokee Indians.” — History Colorado
The Arkansas River was once the international border between the United States and Mexico. The border was eliminated after the United State’s victory in the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848. Upon signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgoon February 2, 1848, the border was relocated south to the Rio Grande.
Zebulon Pike may have built a small picket stockade at the confluence after his expedition reached the Arkansas on October 14, 1806. The expedition broke into two groups with the smaller going downstream to the Mississippi River led by Lieutenant James Biddle Wilkinson. Pike took the larger group upstream reaching the Royal Gorge on December 7th. He did not return.
In 1842, Mountain man, fur trader, and explorer James Beckwourth, trailblazer George Simpson, and traders Mathew Kinkead, Robert Fisher and Francisco Conn founded and built El Pueblo or Fort Pueblo. The fort’s walls were made of adobe and likely patterned after Bent’s Fort.
On Christmas Day 1854, Utes and Jicarilla Apaches under the leadership of Tierra Blanca, a Ute chief, attacked El Pueblo killing or capturing everyone. Survivors were ransomed and returned.
The trading post was abandoned but re-emerged in 1858-1859 as an important trade and supply center during the Colorado Gold Rush.
Pueblo is comprised of four early cities: Pueblo, South Pueblo, Central Pueblo and Bessemer. Agriculture dominated early Pueblo until there was steel! Steel has been the primary industry for most of Pueblo’s history.
The Colorado Fuel and Iron (CF&I) steel mill is responsible for creating a melting pot of immigrant workers of Irish, Italian, German, Slovenian, Greek, Jewish, Lithuanian, Russian, Hungarian, Japanese, and African-American descent. Cultural diversity is celebrated in the “Steel City” and “Home of Heroes.”
Pueblo is the hometown of four (4) Medal of Honor recipients:
- William J. Crawford
- Carl L. Sitter
- Raymond G. Murphy and
- Drew D. Dix.
Upon presenting Raymond G. “Jerry” Murphy with his medal in 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower commented, “What is it… something in the water out there in Pueblo? All you guys turn out to be heroes!“
The “Pueblo Medal of Honor Memorial” is located at the Pueblo Convention Center, 320 Central Main Street, Pueblo, Colorado 81003. Please visit our “Blue Star Museums” page to learn about Free admittance to participating Colorado Museums.
Pueblo features ten (10) museums representing Pueblo history, SE Colorado heritage, railroad history, art education, children’s museum for art, military aircraft and artifacts, mental health, a prominent Pueblo family, interactive news & communications and the CF&I steel mill.
Vintage Pueblo Photos
Colorado Experience: Pueblo
North Main Street, Pueblo, Early 1900s