The year is 1837 and Bent's Old Fort is a busy scene as the inhabitants of the fort carry out their daily activities.
The year is 1837 and Bent's Old Fort is a busy scene as the inhabitants of the fort carry out their daily activities. The doctor is treating illnesses, laborers are cooking and maintaining the fort's structure, hunters and trappers provide supplies and provisions, and the traders are going from one camp to another trading goods with Native Americans. This is the world that several visitors walked in to during the Bent's Old Fort Fur Trade Encampment this last Saturday.
At this encampment, guests of all ages were encouraged to freely travel throughout the fort, riverside camps and surrounding area to learn and observe firsthand what life was like during the year of 1837. Throughout the fort, more than 50 "living historians" interacted with guests; informing and demonstrating what exactly their role is in the fort and how their role affects the other fort inhabitants. For example, the trapper would provide the meat that the domestics would then prepare over a fire for that night's meal. Some visitors were even invited to take part in the activities themselves as the blacksmith "needed an extra hand" and enlisted a visitor to help them with wagon repairs. In the area surrounding the fort, Native American tribes had set up camp. "Being in such close vicinity to the fort," a trader explains, "makes it quite convenient for both of us." Traders would often build such good rapport with the Native Americans that oftentimes gifts too were exchanged.
In addition to the living historians, several national park rangers were stationed at the front of fort to provide even more insightful information about the park and its irreplaceable history. Between the living historians portraying fort life in the year of 1837 and the knowledgeable park rangers, guests left the fort with no unanswered questions and a memorable time at Bent's Old Fort. This immersion into the life of the fort is an amazing way to not only learn about the past, but to live it.