History of La Junta

History of La Junta

Located at the junction of several highways, La Junta is the hub of the Arkansas River Valley. The city of La Junta is fertile both historically and geographically. The name La Junta is of Spanish origin and is pronounced La Hunta. It signifies a junction or meeting place where roads meet and diverge to the mountain passes or to the wide plains.

In 1875, the Railroad arrived and La Junta became the major hub for many legs of the Railroad. The Santa Fe recognized the value of the area and built a depot and roundhouse here. By 1879, the Santa Fe Railroad shops had been established and La Junta was headquarters for the Railroad’s Colorado division. La Junta become home to Colorado’s first Harvey House, built in 1895, due to the presence of the railroad here.

On May 15, 1881, the approximately 285 residents of this small village incorporated and formed the City of La Junta. It is said that a herd of 100 antelope ran down what passed for Main Street, leading to the presence of the animals on the City seal today. In more than one hundred years since that day in 1881, La Junta has waxed and waned with the fortunes of commerce. Even through the thick and thin, La Junta’s government today offers a full range of services to its citizens and continues to thrive.

La Junta is a major cattle and produce-shipping center for the Lower Arkansas Valley with some of the finest cantaloupe and watermelon crops in the world. Hard work was, and still is, a way of life here. People seeking business opportunities will find La Junta is affordable and accessible, a forward-thinking community with a growing base and a talented, diversified, and hardworking populous. The cost of living is low compared to more industrialized areas, making La Junta a great place to raise a family or retire. Although at first glance La Junta might seem relatively isolated, it does offer a quiet, small town lifestyle augmented by modern communications, and medical technologies that bring a down-home feel.

From preschool through Otero Junior College, we are proud to boast of our quality schools and education system that encourages lifelong learning. We are proud of our strong values, the many school, church, and civic organizations for our youth and adults alike, and the numerous activities and events that promote and nurture a vital and energized community throughout the year.

Museums, theaters and historical sites continue to attract visitors of all nationalities. Visit the Otero Museum to view displayed buildings, vehicles and artifacts pre-WWII or stop by the Koshare Indian Museum that houses a nationally ranked collection of Native American and southwestern art and artifacts. Be sure to catch a performance by the Koshare Indian Dancers while you’re there too! Just south of town lies the Comanche National Grassland, Vogel Canyon, and Picketwire Canyon where the longest continuous dinosaur track side in the nation can be seen. For hunters, there is the annual Dove Hunt and approximately five hundred (500) different species of birds. Golf lovers will appreciate the 300 plus days of fine weather, while the racing enthusiasts can get their fill with a Porsche and a vintage car race throughout the spring and summer.

We invite you to explore our site further. Meet the members of our Chamber, the people of our town, and discover the “Hometown” feel of La Junta, Colorado.

La Junta Chamber of Commerce | 110 Santa Fe Avenue, La Junta, CO 81050 | info@lajuntachamber.com | 719-384-7411 | Fax: 719-384-2217 

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