Are you yearning for a trip out east to explore a few of the National Historic Landmarks that make this country so unique? Don’t spend your money on expensive plane tickets, hotels and other travel costs; just visit one of these 13 Historic Landmarks located right here in Colorado:
Please note, Shenandoah-Dives Mill is temporarily closed.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Bent's Old Fort (La Junta)
The first historic site in Colorado to ever receive the distinction as a National Historic Landmark is Bent's Old Fort. Built in 1833 near La Junta, Bent's Old Fort was at one time the only major white American settlement on the Santa Fe Trail between Missouri and Mexico.
2. Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad (Silverton)
Do you want to know the coolest part about this National Historic Landmark inductee? Not only can you visit the railway (which was originally opened in 1882), you can still ride it.
3. Lindenmeier Site (Wellington)
Located in Larimer County, the Lindenmeier Site is said to contain the most Folsom cultures (with a radiocarbon date of 10,600 to 10,720 B.P.) ever found. In addition to the artifacts from the Paleo-Indian culture, researchers have also discovered a stunning collection of Archaic and Late pre-historic period pieces.
4. Pikes Peak (Colorado Springs)
The incredible 14,115-foot summit, which inspired Katharine Lee Bates to pen the iconic "America the Beautiful," was first sighted by American explorer Zebulon Pike in the early 1800s and was designated a Historic Landmark in 1961.
5. Granada War Relocation Center (Granada)
When President Franklin D. Roosevelt called for the mandatory relocation of Japanese-Americans following Pearl Harbor, hundreds of thousands of families were evacuated and relocated to numerous "assembly centers" throughout the country. One of these centers was the Prowers County Granada Relocation Center; a 10,000-acre campsite that housed thousands of Japanese-American refugees at a time.
6. United States Air Force Academy, Cadet Area (Colorado Springs)
"Aim High... Fly-Fight-Win" isn't just the motto for the United State Air Force; it is also the motto for the Air Force Academy's impressive Cadet Center, which was named a National Historic Landmark in 2004.
7. Philadelphia Toboggan Company Carousel No. 6 (Burlington)
Also known as the Elitch Gardens and/or Kit Carson County Carousel, this 1905 Philadelphia Toboggan Company masterpiece features gorgeous, hand-carved animals and original 1909 Wurlitzer 155 "Monster" military band organ.
8. Shenandoah-Dives Mill (Silverton)
Built in 1929 to recover silver, gold, copper, zinc, and lead from the minerals mined nearby, the Mill is the only fully intact and still functional mill of its kind in the entire state.
9. Mesa Verde National Park (Montezuma County)
Quite possibly one of the most famous Historic Landmarks in Colorado is that of Mesa Verde National Park, which houses more than 4,300 of the best preserved Ancestral Puebloan archeological sites in the country. (Psst... Not only is Mesa Verde a National Historic Landmark, it's a World Heritage Site.)
10. Hovenweep National Monument (Montezuma County)
We *may* have to share these six groups of Ancestral Puebloan villages with our neighbors in Utah, but we will gladly take credit any day for our part in housing these well-preserved sites, which date back to 8000 to 6000 B.C.
11. Trujillo Homestead (Mosca)
Just down the road from the Great Sand Dunes is the old Trujillo farmstead; a multi-acre ranch settled by Spanish-speaking sheep farmer Teofilo Trujillo in the 1860s and later sold to the Medeno Zapata Ranch (which is now owned by the Nature Conservancy).
12. Ludlow Tent Colony Site (Ludlow)
On April 20, 1914, two women, 11 children, and seven men were killed during the senseless Ludlow Massacre, in which the Colorado National Guard attacked 1,200 striking coal miners (and their families) living in tents. Today, the location is marked by a designated 1.5-acre monument.
13. Lowry Ruin (Montezuma County)
Colorado hit the jackpot when it comes to beautifully-preserved Ancestral Puebloan archaeological sites. The Lowry Ruin is thought to have been constructed around 1060 A.D. and features both multiple kivas and rooms.