Bent’s Old Fort

I must admit that I am a U.S. history nut. In my life I have read several hundred books on the subject. Being non-violent at my core this list does not include many books on our wars but instead I focused on the people of the times. Except for the Revolutionary War which is necessary to understand the foundations of our society, I pretty much avoid the subject of war. Some of the most fascinating reading were of the trapper’s journals in the Rocky Mountains.

Part of that love of history includes going to many historical sites. My wife and I have been doing this for thirty-five years now, and I was doing it alone for fifteen years before that. One of my favorite places to visit in this venue is Bent’s Old Fort. It is a reconstructed fort in southeastern Colorado. It is in the top five of the most favorite historical places I have visited.

After an archaeological exploration the fort was rebuilt on the same footprint as the original.  Fort Bent was a commercial fort not a military one.  It was used for trading with the Indians in the area as well as supplying trappers etc.  We were told that all the shooting at the “Fort Zent” from the mini-series “Centennial” made in the 1970s was filmed here and a good bit of Levi Zent’s life in the show was based on Robert Bent’s past.  Of course Robert Bent was an actual person and Levi Zent was a make believe character.  Anyway there was a Calvary officer who spent several months at the fort while he was recovering from an illness. He was fascinated with the fort and proceeded to make detailed drawings of the fort with a lot of detail about it.  Fortunately the drawings survived and were used to reconstruct the fort.  The  reconstructed fort was meticulously made and it was amazing how real it looked.  Every room was detailed out according to the drawings and other surviving documents.

Bent’s Old Fort is definitely a gem in the National Park Service holdings. Even though it is a reconstructed fort I got an eerie feeling that the original inhibitors were still on the premises. We spent about four hours at the fort and I want to go back again someday.

And the journey goes on..

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