Fort Union National Monument 1851-1891

Fort Union National Monument Historical Marker, NM

Fort Union was the largest military fort in the 19th century in the American Southwest. It was established in 1851 to protect the Santa Fe Trail and lasted for 40 years. The fort was actually three different forts with the third and last fort being the largest of the three.

Fort Union acted as a military supply depot, military garrison and territorial arsenal for the entire region.

Besides the remains of the fort, visitors can also see Santa Fe Trail ruts.

Historical Marker Inscription

Once the largest post in the Southwest, Fort Union was established to control the Jicarilla Apaches and Utes, to protect the Santa Fe Trail, and to serve as a supply depot for other New Mexico forts. The arrival of the railroad and the pacification of the region led to its abandonment in 1891.

Location

35° 44′ N, 105° 2.717′ W.

Traveling North on Interstate 25, Mile Marker 360, near Las Vegas, New Mexico

Ralph Carr Memorial Highway

In the same place as the South Park historical marker on 285 at Kenosha Pass is another marker dedicated to Ralph Carr, a former governor of Colorado. Serving during World War II, Carr was the only Western governor to oppose the internment of Japanese Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He even gave speeches and wrote a letter published in the Pacific Citizen newspaper of the Japanese American Citizens’ League to encourage Japanese Americans to come to Colorado.

While only serving as governor for one term due to his resistance to the internment push, he did make Denver a popular postwar destination for Japanese Americans after they were released from internment camps. There was a large Japanese contingent in Colorado from the 1950s to the 1960s.

Carr’s support for Japanese Americans cost him the governorship, and he lost a Senate campaign in 1942. He tried running for Colorado governor again in 1950, but died right before the election at 62 years old.

Historical Marker Inscription

Ralph Carr Memorial Highway in Commemoration of Ralph L. Carr Governor of Colorado (1939-1943)

Following the attacks of Pearl Harbor, tens of thousands of Japanese Americans were forcibly sent to internment camps by the federal government. These Americans lost their property, possessions and freedoms unjustly and without due process. Defying overwhelming popular sentiment, Governor Ralph Carr defended U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry. His convictions were clear:

“When it is suggested that American citizens be thrown into concentration camps, where they lose all privileges of citizenship under the Constitution, then the principles of that great document are violated and lost.”

Governor Carr’s brave and unpopular stand would cost him his political career but earned him the enduring respect of generations of Coloradans.

“…one voice, a small voice but a strong voice, like the voice of a sandpiper over the roar of the surf.” – Minoru Yasui “

Erected in accordance with a 2008 Resolution of the Colorado General Assembly.

This memorial was made possible through the financial support of the Colorado Asian Pacific American Bar Foundation and other private donors.

Dedicated October 2010

Location: US-285, Lake George, CO 80827

Latitude: 39° 24′ 12.432″ N Longitude: 105° 45′ 16.152″ W

South Park, Colorado

South Park Colorado Historical Marker

Perched atop Kenosha Pass on a small turnout is a sign welcoming you to South Park. The name South Park was first used by hunters and trappers during the 1840s. The area was inhabited by the Utes until white settlers began moving in during the middle of the 1800s. The Southern Arapaho also encroached on Ute territory following the buffalo.

By the 1850s, however, the area would become known for three gold strikes, driving gold rushers to South Park, which caused gold camps to be created throughout this wide open country. Between 1860 to 1863, $1.5 million worth of gold was extracted from the county.

John C. Fremont also explored this location during his 1844 (second) expedition. During that time, the area was called Bayou Salade (a mispronunciation of Valle Salado).

South Park is known for its grasslands, which lie on a basin between Mosquito and Park Mountain Ranges, which are part of the Rocky Mountains. These mountains range from 9,000 feet to 10,000 feet (3,000 meters).

Historical Marker Inscription

Spread before you lies the famous
SOUTH PARK
entered by Kenosha Pass, elevation 10,000 feet The Bayou Salado of early trappers, favorite Indian hunting ground and frequent battleground. Visited by Z. M. Pike in 1806. Crossed by J. C. Fremont in 1844. Permanent settlement inaugurated by gold discoveries in 1859.

Location: US-285, Lake George, CO 80827

Latitude: 39° 24′ 12.432″ N Longitude: 105° 45′ 16.152″ W

First Wagons Used on Santa Fe Trail

The Santa Fe Trail was a two-way commercial highway that connected Missouri to Santa Fe. Used between 1821 and 1889, it was frequented by both American and Mexican traders. It was also a path that the U.S. Army used to invade Mexico during the Mexican-American War.

Besides commerce, the Santa Fe Trail was also used during the Gold Rush by people heading to gold fields in both California and Colorado as well as by missionaries, emigrants and more.

The expansion of the railroad into Santa Fe in February 1880 brought an end to the trail.

Historical Marker Inscription

“First Wagons Used on Santa-Fe Trail Crossed Here in 1822.”

Accompanying sign:

“Stretching 900 miles from Franklin, Missouri, to Santa Fe, New Mexico, the Santa Fe Trail as one of the most important North America trade routes of the nineteenth century. Begun in 1821, it was used for 60 years until the arrival of the railroad. It was a hardy traveler who attempted the journey. Wagon trains up to 500 wagons long traversed the trail through blizzards, stampedes, dust storms, fires, disease, and Indian attacks. And often, they lacked for water.

Here, near two landmarks of the trail, Round Mound and Rabbit Ears, wagon trains camped for the night. William Becknell, the trader who inaugurated the Santa Fe Trail in 1821, came this way on his return trip east while forging the smoother Cimarron Route across the plains.

Two-way Street

Unlike the great emigrant trails to the north, the Santa Fe Trail ran both ways, with traders from Mexico, or returning U.S. traders, carrying Mexican silver, gold, mules, buffalo and beaver pelts to waiting markets in Missouri.”

Location: US-87 West, Clayton, New Mexico
Latitude: 36

Location: US-87 West, Clayton, New Mexico
Latitude: 36 degrees 33′ 59.520″ N
Longitude: 103 degrees 34′ 1.152″ W

Capulin Volcano

Driving down Highway 325 in New Mexico near Raton, you can’t miss the sign for Capulin Volcano National Monument. This national monument is an extinct cinder cone volcano that is part of the 8,000 square mile Raton-Clayton Volcanic Field. Designed to provide visitors with a look at the geology of Northwestern New Mexico, you can also view four states from the rim of the volcano.

The elevation of the volcano is 8,182 feet high and 400 feet deep, and it is approximately 60,000 years old. The name is derived from a type of choke cherry, Prunus virginiana. The area became a national monument on August 9, 1916.

Historical Marker Inscription

“An outstanding example of an extinct volcanic cinder cone, Capulin Volcano was formed as early as 10,000 years ago. In cinder cones, lava pours from cracks in the base rather than over the top. Capulin itself was the escape hatch for cases that blew lava fragments into the air where they solidified and landed red hot on the cone.”

Location: 46 Volcano, Capulin, NM 88414
36.7811 degrees North, 103.9695 degrees West