La Veta, Colorado

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Town of La Veta, Colorado
Spanish for The Vein (geology)
Town
Old Ritter Schoolhouse, built 1876
Old Ritter Schoolhouse, built 1876
Location in Huerfano County and the state of Colorado
Location in Huerfano County and the state of Colorado
Coordinates: 37°30′28″N 105°0′29″W / 37.50778°N 105.00806°W / 37.50778; -105.00806Coordinates: 37°30′28″N 105°0′29″W / 37.50778°N 105.00806°W / 37.50778; -105.00806
Country  United States
State  Colorado
County[1] Huerfano
Incorporated (town) June 16, 1886[2]
Government
 • Type Statutory Town[1]
 • Town Board Larry Klinke
Dale Davis
Laurie Erwin
Area
 • Total 1.37 sq mi (3.5 km2)
 • Land 1.37 sq mi (3.5 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)
Elevation[3] 7,037 ft (2,145 m)
Population (2010)[4]
 • Total 800
 • Density 583.9/sq mi (225.4/km2)
Time zone Mountain (MST) (UTC-7)
 • Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6)
ZIP code[5] 81055
Area code(s) 719
FIPS code 08-44100
GNIS feature ID 0204782
Website Town of La Veta Colorado

La Veta is a Statutory Town in Huerfano County, Colorado, United States. The town population was 800 as of the 2010 census.[4]

History[edit]

Colonel John Francisco (1820–1902) and Judge Henry Daigre (1832–1902) formed a partnership and purchased land under the Vigil-St. Vrain Land Grant in 1868. The land was located on a Native American trail used by the Ute tribe (and earlier the Comanches). Joined by Hiram Washington Vasquez (1843–1939), Francisco and Daigre built a plaza known as Francisco Fort to supply the Denver mining camps with products from ranching and farming. Ranches and farms like that of the Bela and Fain families were located nearby.

In Spanish, La Veta translates as “the mineral vein”—an appropriate name given the town's association with mining claims such as the abandoned mining camp of Ojo, which is located a few miles from the town and whose concrete foundations can still be seen upon close inspection. Hiram Vasquez[who?] said that the town was named by Mexican settlers from a vein of white mineral which they called “La Veta Tierra Blanca”.

By 1876 the Denver and Rio Grande Railway Company—later the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad—built a narrow gauge railroad through a right-of-way to the plaza and 200 acres (0.81 km2) for a town site donated by Francisco and Daigre. The tracks continued put of La Veta over what is known today as “Old La Veta Pass”, completing a trek up to an elevation of 9,382 feet (2,860 m) to a depot built by 1877. The train continued west into the San Luis Valley. In 1899 The railroad converted the rails to standard gauge and rerouted the rails to Veta Pass, 9,242 feet (2,817 m), 9 miles south of La Veta Pass. The old narrow gauge roadbed was converted to a wagon road.

Today, "Uptop Ghost Town" has been created from the old historic buildings. Though gravel, it can still be traversed by passenger vehicles in good conditions (NOT in winter snow). Another pass, dubbed North La Veta Pass (9,413 ft.), two miles north of La Veta Pass, is traversed by US Highway 160, which is paved the entire way.

Geography[edit]

La Veta is located at 37°30′28″N 105°0′29″W / 37.50778°N 105.00806°W / 37.50778; -105.00806 (37.507681, -105.008038).[6]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 1.37 square miles (3.5 km2), all of it land. At one time (1919) there were sulphur springs in La Veta owned by Dr. Acker. They were last managed by W J Pierce of Colorado Springs (see http://www.kmitch.com/Huerfano/news1915.html)

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 165
1890 361 118.8%
1900 254 −29.6%
1910 691 172.0%
1920 737 6.7%
1930 782 6.1%
1940 897 14.7%
1950 701 −21.9%
1960 632 −9.8%
1970 589 −6.8%
1980 611 3.7%
1990 726 18.8%
2000 924 27.3%
2010 800 −13.4%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 800 people, 415 households, and 222 families residing in the town. The population density was 583.9 people per square mile (225.4/km²). There were 566 housing units at an average density of 413.1 per square mile (161.7/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 91.1% White, 0.9% American Indian, 0.4% Pacific Islander, 2.6% from other races, and 5.0% from two or more races. Hispanics and Latinos of any race were 11.4% of the population.[4]

There were 415 households of which 20.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.1% were married couples living together, 6.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 46.5% were non-families. 42.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.93, and the average family size was 2.60.[4]

The median age in the town was 52.8 years. 18.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 2.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 16.4% were from 25 to 44; 39.2% were from 45 to 64; and 22.6% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 46.8% male and 53.2% female.[4]

The median income for a household was $37,457, and the median income for a family was $66,964. Males had a median income of $50,577 versus $26,250 for females. The per capita income for the city was $26,066. About 12.0% of families and 10.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.3% of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.[4]

Education[edit]

There is one school in the town of La Veta, La veta RE2. It has a total of 229 students. La Veta has the highest CSAP scores in Huerfano county. The school sports team are the La Veta Redskins, which for the last few years have been going to state tournaments in almost every sport.

Culture[edit]

Art Gallery in La Veta, 2014

OLD LA VETA PASS ..."History of Yesterday & Today"[edit]

OLD LA VETA PASS (9,382')

Overall History: Before there was a railroad, the several Native American tribes hunted and traveled through the forests covering the mountain pass on their way to Mt. Blanca. Then the woods were discovered by botanists collecting plants for Harvard College. Next, the Denver & Rio Grande Narrow Gauge Railroad was built in 1877 (Rails & Depot) over the Sangre de Cristos/Rockies. The D&RG Railroad was active from 1877 to 1900 when the railroad over Veta Pass was decommissioned & the rails and ties removed (1900). In the absence of rails the beautifully constructed dirt road became one of the few roads crossing the Rocky Mountains for early automobile trips. The Trujillo Family homesteaded the land and attracted the new tourists of their age. The Veta Pass Road became so busy, the Highway Department built a paved road over Veta Pass around the 1920-30's and named it Highway 160. In 1964, Highway 160 was pushed further north to a flatter course. It was paved and became known as "North La Veta Pass," while "Veta Pass" ("La Veta Pass") became known as "Old La Veta Pass." In 2000, "Uptop Ghost Town" was created from the old buildings.

Train History: The 1877 Depot was erected for a Depot Manager to live in so he could coordinate the train route & schedule. This railroad was used by the Calvery heading west to Ft. Garland; Chief Ourey and his wife Chipeta traveling east to Washington, D.C.; early tourists riding "The Railroad Above The Clouds" to collect flowers; and farm owners to ship local produce coming out of the San Luis Valley on the railroads heading to Denver and other large cities. Those tracks traversed points on the railroad known as "Mule Shoe Curve" (which was the tighest curve for a narrow gauge railroad at the time); "Lookout Point" also known as "Windy Point" and/or "Dump Mountain" (where all the 1877 D&RG railroad waste was dumped).

Today's History: The current day history of "Old La Veta Pass" includes "Uptop Ghost Town". The history has been preserved in the ghost town buildings which include: the Chapel, Tavern, Dance Hall, School House, Patriarch's Homestead, Barn and other out buildings. "Uptop Ghost Town" has been a part of current day history with the activities: summer tours, weddings, reunions, company gatherings.

In 1878, Helen Hunt Jackson wrote lovingly about her journey to the top of "Old La Veta Pass":

“From the mouth of the pass to the summit is

Measured in miles – fourteen miles;

Measured in hours – three hours;

Measured in sensations – the length of a dream.”

Climate[edit]

Climate data for La Veta, Colorado (Elevation 7,037ft)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 70
(21)
62
(17)
74
(23)
79
(26)
85
(29)
90
(32)
97
(36)
94
(34)
85
(29)
82
(28)
75
(24)
65
(18)
97
(36)
Average high °F (°C) 46.9
(8.3)
47.9
(8.8)
48.5
(9.2)
57.2
(14)
67.6
(19.8)
76.7
(24.8)
83.7
(28.7)
81.1
(27.3)
72.9
(22.7)
66.3
(19.1)
57.3
(14.1)
44.0
(6.7)
62.5
(16.9)
Average low °F (°C) 16.5
(−8.6)
12.7
(−10.7)
17.3
(−8.2)
31.3
(−0.4)
37.5
(3.1)
43.8
(6.6)
53.8
(12.1)
50.6
(10.3)
41.2
(5.1)
31.9
(−0.1)
24.6
(−4.1)
13.3
(−10.4)
31.2
(−0.4)
Record low °F (°C) −25
(−32)
−10
(−23)
−17
(−27)
12
(−11)
17
(−8)
32
(0)
42
(6)
32
(0)
20
(−7)
5
(−15)
−5
(−21)
−17
(−27)
−25
(−32)
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.40
(10.2)
1.00
(25.4)
1.42
(36.1)
1.47
(37.3)
1.63
(41.4)
1.49
(37.8)
3.14
(79.8)
2.50
(63.5)
1.95
(49.5)
0.68
(17.3)
0.40
(10.2)
0.84
(21.3)
16.94
(430.3)
Snowfall inches (cm) 9.3
(23.6)
20.9
(53.1)
24.0
(61)
13.9
(35.3)
1.0
(2.5)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
1.0
(2.5)
7.9
(20.1)
5.9
(15)
16.4
(41.7)
100.3
(254.8)
Source: The Western Regional Climate Center[7]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Active Colorado Municipalities". State of Colorado, Department of Local Affairs. Retrieved 2007-09-01. 
  2. ^ "Colorado Municipal Incorporations". State of Colorado, Department of Personnel & Administration, Colorado State Archives. 2004-12-01. Retrieved 2007-09-02. 
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "American FactFinder 2". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-10-24. 
  5. ^ "ZIP Code Lookup" (JavaScript/HTML). United States Postal Service. Retrieved October 23, 2007. 
  6. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  7. ^ "Seasonal Temperature and Precipitation Information". Western Regional Climate Center. Retrieved April 14, 2013. 
  • Christofferson, Nancy C.; Huerfano World Newspaper; Walsenburg, CO.; 1991
  • Christofferson, Nancy C.; Coal Was King: Huerfano County's Mining History; 2000; USA
  • Denver Daily Tribune; 1877
  • Lathrop/Law Property; Current owners of "Uptop" Old La Veta Pass
  • Orton, Agnes Bombard and other Southern Colorado Auxiliary of the Territorial Daughters of Colorado; Pioneers of the Territory of Southern Colorado; Volume 2; Monte Vista, Colorado; 1980


External links[edit]