Otero County Links
Last Updated: August 31, 2007
The first settlers came and a man named Bent built a fort and a trading post.
The name "La Junta" is Spanish pronounced "La Hunta", meaning a meeting place for fur trappers. When the fur trapping industry stopped the small village died.
Forty years later the fur trade , Indian wars and the buffalo passed into history.
La Junta was one of the offshoots of the changing times. Forty years after the fur trading fort was built, the major fur trade network in the west passed into history.
In 1875, La Junta was revived again when the railroad came down the Santa Fe trail. When the railroad discontinued the spur to La Junta the small town died again. Most of the good buildings were put on log skids and dragged by teams of mules to relocate on the main line of the Santa Fe railroad.
On May 15, 1881, the residents of a small village at the side of the rails then running east and west on the south bank of the Arkansas River incorporated and formed themselves as "The City of La Junta."
It is said that a herd of antelope ran down what passed for Main Street, leading to the presence of the animals on the city seal today. La Junta was a railroad town from the beginning. In the more than one hundred years since that day in 1881, La Junta has waxed and waned with the fortunes of commerce. In the heyday of rail travel, La Junta was a transportation hub for produce and cattle shipments.
Today, La Junta sits south of the Arkansas, as before, but now has entered into a new century.
And, those elms planted in such plenty over a century ago now offer shade and comfort to the streets and avenues of La Junta's older neighborhoods.
©2007 Otero County, COGenWeb Project