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Otero county was named after Miguel Antonio Otero. The population of Otero county was 20311, in 2000.  It ranked 38th in the state with the nominal income $18197 and unemployment at 4.7%. It was ranked high in the cost of living category at 1.139 in 1998.  Otero county comprises of 1267 square miles.  Service was listed as the largest employer at 23.4%, followed by state and local government 21.8% and transportation 13.1%.


Named for the Cheraw Indians. The population in 2004 was 201.


Fowler supports a population of 1150. Once called Oxford was changed to Fowler in honor of Orson Squire Fowler.  Founded on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad.

La Junta

La Junta is the county seat for Otero county. In 2004 had the population of 7334. La Junta was built on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, once called Otero, was incorporated in 1881.La Junta is also known for its famous Boy Scouts Koshare Dancers. Nearby on the Purgatoire River, fossil fragments and tracks of dinosaurs have been found.  Several businesses have relocated to La Junta one of recent being The Product Line customer service center. There are thirteen structures listed on the National Historic Sites in La Junta.


Manzanola, Spanish meaning red apple, was once Catlin. The population in 2004 was listed at 505.

 Rocky Ford

Rocky Ford was a trading store.  When the Santa Fe Railway came through, it moved three miles southwest. Kit Carson reportedly called as a place to cross the Arkansas River, Rocky Ford.  The population in 2004 was 4182. The famous Rocky Ford melons are grown nearby.


Named for a farmer and Colorado state senator George W. Swink.  It supports a population of 688 in 2004. Swink was built as a railroad stopping point by the Holly Sugar Company factory.

  Other communities of interest:

Bents Old Fort

Bents Old Fort is located on highway 194.  It was built by brothers William and Charles Bent and Ceran St. Vain on the Santa Fe Trail.  It was the major trade center.  During the Mexican American War, Bent's Fort became a center for the American miltary operations.  When the government would purchase the fort, William tried to burn it down. He then moved it down stream 1853.


 Located on highways 10 and 71 named for Floyd Hawley.


 Timpas is a Spanish word meaning the rock in front of the hearth of a blast furnace. Timpas is located on US highway 350.


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


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