Hosted By

Santa Fe Trail Association

Bent’s Old Fort NHS

Otero Junior College

City of La Junta

Koshare Indian Museum

The 2021 Santa Fe Trail Bicentennial Symposium

Bent’s Fort Chapter Event

La Junta, Colorado

September 23-26, 2021

The Santa Fe Trail Lives On:

200 Years of Commerce & Cultural Connections

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Bents Fort Chapter Home

Living History Program

Concurrent with the symposium, Bent’s Old Fort NHS will host a living history program open to both the general public as well as symposium participants.  

Symposium attendees, participants and the general public will not only be able to learn about the Santa Fe Trail and Southern Fur trade from distinguished historians’ formal presentations but will be able to experience what life was like in 1846 at Fort William (Bent’s Fort).

Everyone will have the opportunity to observe, study and interact with experienced Living Historians, historic reenactors and demonstrators who will assume the prevalent roles of the Santa Fe Trail teamsters, travelers, and fort employees who would have been found at the fort during its heyday.  Teamsters, traders, and travelers along the Santa Fe Trail trappers and hunters, blacksmiths and carpenters, domestics and laborers and other employees of the Bent & St. Vrain Co. will take their place at Bent’s Fort for the duration of the Symposium.  These men, women, and children will reveal through their activities, conversations and demonstrations what life might have been like a hundred and seventy-five years ago at the dominant fur trading post on the Southern Plains.

The 19th-century Bent’s Fort was called “a magnet for the adventurous, scholarly, and the curious.  Explorers, travelers, and journalists stopped here to observe the varied commerce and diverse cultures …”  During the Symposium, participants and the public alike can also stop at Bent’s Fort to observe and experience the commerce and culture of a time long past.

Come and immerse yourself in a way of life that has long since disappeared!

Note;  Participation as a living history interpreter is by invitation only.  If you are interested in participating in the living history program requirements may be found here.