04 Jun SMALL FORT, SMALL TOWN, BIG MEANINGS – John George
Thank you for your time. My name is John George and I will be graduating with a Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Science with a minor in Biology. I am a part of the Interpretation Division and my official title is Interpretation and Education Outreach Intern. I will be working to increase site visitations with a focus on reaching out to Latinx communities. I am from southern Texas in a little place colloquially called ‘The Valley’. Harlingen is my hometown. I am excited to volunteer here at Old Bent’s Fort National Historic Site (O.B.F.) because my dream career is to become a respected Park Ranger and Colorado’s picturesque landscape is something everybody should experience at least once.
My first week at OBF has helped me to metaphorically ‘dip my toe’ into the daily occurrences one encounters while working for the National Park Service. Registering and activation of government credentials have occupied a portion of my and my co-workers’ first week but with everybody’s help I have obtained clearance. Hooray! The wealth of information held by the employees of the park can easily take an entire work day if there weren’t visitors trickling in or a large herd of grade schoolers who were in greater need of historical education. The origins and timeline of the fort up until it’s destruction in 1849 are engrossing. The fort was fully reconstructed using aged blueprints written by a topographical engineer that rested here. Actual notes, journals, and several items from the 1830s are scattered about the park providing a window into the mind of native fort residents.
The fort is camouflaged from the service road as there are gently rolling prairies that flow through the city of La Junta but the big sign on the service road will get you right to an interesting piece of US history. This helps to fully immerse visitors and help facilitate the illusion that you have travelled back in time. The small town of La Junta (9,900 population) is densely packed with historical significance and I hope one day you get to walk into the fort yourself!