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Walsenburg, Colorado | by Ken Lund
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Walsenburg, Colorado

The City of Walsenburg or Los Leones is a Statutory City that is the county seat and the most populous city of Huerfano County, Colorado, United States. The city population was 3,068 at the 2010 census, down from 4,182 in 2000.

 

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.

 

The City of Walsenburg traces its history back about 150 years. The settlement was first established as La Plaza de los Leones which was named after the Leon family on the north side of the Cuchara River by Don Miguel Antonio Leon and a family named Atencio. In 1870, Fred Walsen settled nearby and opened up his large mercantile, making the town an attractive location for German settlers. After Fred assisted in the incorporation of the town's 320-acre (1.3 km2) site, it was suggested that he be honored by formally naming the new town "Walsenburg". In 1876, Walsen also opened the area's first coal mine, and the development of the town was influenced for a century by coal mining in the region. An estimated 500 million tons of coal was mined until a combination of factors led to the closure of virtually all mining in the area.

 

Walsenburg is mentioned in the famous Woody Guthrie song, "Ludlow Massacre". The song recounts an attack by the Colorado National Guard and armed Colorado Fuel & Iron Company camp guards on a tent colony of 1,200 striking coal miners and their families at Ludlow, Colorado, on April 20, 1914. Some two dozen people, including women and children, were killed. The town is also remembered in sports history due to a famous newspaper gaffe ("Will Overhead") after the 1933 Indianapolis 500.

 

The nearby Spanish Peaks are a national landmark and named one of Colorado's Seven Wonders by the Denver Post. The Highway of The Legends, connecting Walsenburg with La Veta, other historic mining towns, and Trinidad, is a National Scenic and Historic Byway.

 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walsenburg,_Colorado

 

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Taken on December 13, 2014