Other Sites

The John W. Rawlings Heritage Center and Museum is a dynamic place where history and culture come together to be experienced by a multi generational audience. Historic exhibits and events will interpret the influence of Bent County on the growth of the state and region. The facility serves as headquarters of the Bent County Historical Society where historical artifacts are displayed, preserved, documented, and interpreted for the public.

Journey with us to a time in our country’s past where life was hard but hope for a better future was strong. The promise of new life in the west called many families to leave everything familiar behind. Pioneers were seeking a new land of opportunity where one could homestead and raise a family. Stockades became the gathering place of protection for these pioneers during troubled times. Within the stockade walls, communities were built and friendships were forged as everyone daily worked together to provide adequate food and clothing for each family. At the close of the day, families gathered together to spend time singing hymns and thanking the Lord for another day of safety. Occasionally, special events were celebrated with fiddle music and dancing.

The Medicine Lodge Stockade Museum gives you a taste of what life was like in a stockade in the 1870s. We invite you to visit…’Where History Matters’

Eastern Colorado Historical Society is located at 55 W 2nd Street, Cheyenne Wells, CO, United States, 80810. They may be contacted by clicking the button above or by email at

The museum has exhibits illustrating transportation, military, postal, agricultural, business, schools, and many other aspects of life from pioneer times through the entrance of the nation onto the world stage. Specific exhibits cover the railroads, which profoundly affected the area economically and culturally; the military, which was particularly significant through its presence at the World War II airbase north of La Junta; agriculture, which has always been and remains the center of economic life in Otero County; and various small businesses as existed through the first half of the 20th century.

The Campbell house is where George Bent stayed with the Robert Campbell family in St. Louis while he attended school there. In 1857 George completed his schooling in Westport (near Kansas City) and then went to St. Louis to finish his education. In 1861 he enlisted to fight in the Civil War as a Confederate. In 1863 he went back to Colorado Territory and joined the Cheyenne as a Dog Soldier.

The Steamboat Arabia sank in 1856 near present-day Kansas City, MO and all cargo was lost. In the 1980s, a father and sons team discovered the ship’s location and recovered many items, almost all in pristine condition. Some of these items would have gone on to Bent’s Fort and the right era for village artifacts at Sand Creek. We took a trip to the museum in Kansas City, and I took photos of some of the items which I used to compare to artifacts I found on Sand Creek. We go into detail about this in our book.

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