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The population in 2000 of Bent county was 5998 covering 1542 square miles. Bent county is located in the southeast part of Colorado. Figures in 1998 had the nominal income of $15950, ranking it at 47 with unemployment rate of 3.3%, making the cost of living index 0.953.  Federal civilian government is the main work force at 43.5%, followed by state and local government of 17.0%.

The largest body of water in southeast Colorado, John Martin Reservoir, is located here on the Arkansas River. Other bodies of water are Hasty Lake and Adobe Creek, also known as Blue Lakes.

Bent county (named for founders, Charles and William Bent) was divided in 1889.  Bent's Old Fort ended in Otero county to the west.

This area is rich in history.  There are several books in print as well as some tourist brochures that make good reading.



 Historic site located 2 miles south of Las Animas on Colorado highway 101.  Named for the scout and trapper Thomas O. Boggs.  From 1863 till 1873 was the hub for agriculture supplying near by Fort Lyon Army Post.   The famed Kit Carson lived here.


 John Martin reservoir waters cover the earlier town site.  Named for the Caddoa Indians that came from Oklahoma.

 Fort Lyon

 Originally called Fort Wise for the Virginia Governor, Henry Wise.  After the Civil War, changed to honor the Union General Nathaniel Lyon. The Fort was moved in 1867 because of a flood.  Kit Carson, the famed scout, was buried there for a time. The later years, Fort Lyon was an out patient clinic and nursing home for veterans.

 Las Animas

 First known as Las Animas City located on the south side of the Arkansas River across from Fort Lyon.  Las Animas City was named the county seat in 1870.  In 1873 the Kansas-Pacific Railroad build a branch road from Kit Carson (the town) along the Arkansas River to a spot called West Las Animas. Las Animas City began to die off and West Las Animas began to boom, Las Animas City became "Old Town" and the West was dropped from Las Animas.  In 1882 West Las Animas was incorporated.  In 1998 the population of Las Animas was 3059.


Named for rancher Baynard T. McClave.  The town site was on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railways.

 Other communities of interest

 Big Timbers

  A grove of cottonwoods along the Arkansas River that housed Indians.


 Named for a pioneer family.  Located near John Martin Reservoir.

 John Martin Reservoir

 Once called Caddoa Dam then changed to John Martin Reservoir in honor of a congressman from Pueblo.  Originally built to end the water fight with Kansas and to supplement irrigation water along with preventing flood damage.  Franklin D. Roosevelt signs a bill to allocate funds in 1939.  A bid of 7.1 million was accepted and construction was to begin in the summer of 1940. Three years into the project construction was halted because of WWII.  Finally finished in 1948.



 Also known as Red Rock



Colorado Department of Local Affairs; Colorado State University Cooperative Extension; Bearfacts from Bureau of Economic Analysis; Discover Southeast Colorado


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