Walsenburg, Colorado

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City of Walsenburg, Colorado
La Plaza de los Leones (Plaza of the Leons)
La Plaza de Los Leones
The Huerfano County Courthouse is located in Walsenburg.
The Huerfano County Courthouse is located in Walsenburg.
Motto: "A great place to be! Welcome!"
Location in Huerfano County and the State of Colorado
Location in Huerfano County and the State of Colorado
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Country  United States
State  State of Colorado
County[1] Huerfano County - seat[2]
Incorporated June 16, 1873[3]
Named for Fred Walsen
 • Type Statutory City[1]
 • Mayor James P. Eccher
 • City Administrator Dave Johnston
 • City Council Rick Jennings, Nick Vigil, Craig Lessar, James Baca, Clint Bohler, Cathy Pineda, Silvana Lind, Charles Montoya
 • City Clerk Wanda Britt
 • Total 2.3 sq mi (6.0 km2)
 • Land 2.3 sq mi (6.0 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation[4] 6,171 ft (1,881 m)
Population (2000)
 • Total 4,182
 • Density 1,795.2/sq mi (693.1/km2)
Time zone Mountain (MST) (UTC-7)
 • Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6)
ZIP code[5] 81089
Area code(s) 719
FIPS code 08-82350
GNIS feature ID 0204806
Website City of Walsenburg

The City of Walsenburg is a Statutory City that is the county seat and the most populous city of Huerfano County, Colorado, United States.[2][6] The city population was 3,068 at the 2010 census, down from 4,182 in 2000.

Robert Ford, the assassin of outlaw Jesse James, operated a combination saloon and gambling house in Walsenburg; his home at 320 West 7th Street still stands.


Walsenburg shooting at the Walsenburg Industrial Workers of the World Hall on January 28, 1928

The City of Walsenburg traces its history back about 150 years.[when?] The settlement was first established as La Plaza de los Leones which was named after the Leon family on the north side of the Cuchara River by Don Miguel Antonio Leon and a family named Atencio. In 1870, Fred Walsen settled nearby and opened up his large mercantile, making the town an attractive location for German settlers. After Fred assisted in the incorporation of the town's 320-acre (1.3 km2) site, it was suggested that he be honored by formally naming the new town "Walsenburg". In 1876, Walsen also opened the area's first coal mine, and the development of the town was influenced for a century by coal mining in the region. An estimated 500 million tons of coal was mined until a combination of factors led to the closure of virtually all mining in the area.

Walsenburg is mentioned in the famous Woody Guthrie song, "Ludlow Massacre". The song recounts an attack by the Colorado National Guard and armed Colorado Fuel & Iron Company camp guards on a tent colony of 1,200 striking coal miners and their families at Ludlow, Colorado, on April 20, 1914. Some two dozen people, including women and children, were killed. The town is also remembered in sports history due to a famous newspaper gaffe ("Will Overhead") after the 1933 Indianapolis 500.[7][8][9]

Geography and climate

According to the United States Census Bureau, Walsenburg has a total area of 2.3 square miles (6.0 km2), all of it land.

The Spanish Peaks Regional Health Center is located two miles (3 km) west of Walsenburg on US 160, opposite the entrance to Lathrop State Park. Inside the building, there are a state-operated veterans retirement home and a community hospital that serves the area.

Climate data for Walsenburg, Colorado (1981–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 48.9
Average low °F (°C) 22.3
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.84
Average snowfall inches (cm) 12.7
Source: NOAA[10]

Local attractions and recreation

Lathrop State Park, located 2 miles (3.2 km) west of the city limits of Walsenburg, is the State of Colorado's first State Park and is over 1,600 acres (6.5 km2) in size. Two lakes, Martin Lake and Horseshoe Lake offer fishing, stocked by the State of Colorado (Division of Wildlife of the Department of Natural Resources), water skiing, boating, jet skiing, hiking, camping and is the only State Park in Colorado with a golf course.[citation needed]

The nearby Spanish Peaks are a national landmark and named one of Colorado's Seven Wonders by the Denver Post. The Highway of The Legends, connecting Walsenburg with La Veta, other historic mining towns, and Trinidad, is a National Scenic and Historic Byway,

The Walsenburg Golf Course is a 9 hole public golf course open for play year round. The City opened a two-million dollar water park, "Walsenburg Wild Waters" after efforts by former mayor Maurice Brau and the City Council, on May 27, 2007.[citation needed]

The Huerfano River Wind Farm, Colorado's largest producer of distributed generation (DG) power, is located ten miles north of Walsenburg, just off of Interstate 25. The farm uses Sany-made turbines and feeds into the San Isabel Electric Association grid. It is owned by Tamra-Tacoma Capital Partners, a New York-based investment firm.

Recent events

On July 20, 2007 the City of Walsenburg proclaimed the day: Don Ho Day and welcomed Hawaiians who traveled to Walsenburg from Hawaii as the guests of local citizen/developer Richard McEntee. The Don Ho Day proclamation was personally delivered to Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann in the Mayor's office in Honolulu, by Richard McEntee on July 11, 2007.

A concert was performed at the new water park Walsenburg Wild Waters raising over $20,000.00 for the youth of Walsenburg. The State Flags of Colorado and Hawaii were exchanged and flown over the state capitols in Honolulu and Denver. Sponsored by Colorado Senator Kenneth Kester and Hawaii Rep. Gene Ward. Hawaii Rep. Barbara Murumoto issued "Spirit of Aloha" proclamations to The City of Walsenburg, Colo. Sen. Kester and Richard McEntee that were signed by Hawaii Rep. Barbara Murumoto and Hawaii Speaker of the House Calvin Lay. Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle also signed a proclamation validating the Hawaii State flag. It was a great cultural exchange between Walsenburg and Hawaii that will be treasured for many years to come. Plans call for another Hawaiian Don Ho Day in 2009.

The area's first new subdivision in 25 years, Black Diamond Park, is attracting investors and future residents with its features which include an impressive gated entrance. Black Diamond Park is a master planned gated community that borders the Walsenburg Golf Course and Lathrop State Park. The subdivision features all-underground utilities and ready-to-build "estate home sites" with spectacular views of the Spanish Peaks, the Sangre De Cristo Mountains, Mt. Mestas, Greenhorn Mountain, and the Walsen Ridge.

Over 3.6 million cars a year pass through this "Gateway to the Southwest" and travel and tourism are important to the local community.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 377
1890 928 146.2%
1900 1,033 11.3%
1910 2,423 134.6%
1920 3,565 47.1%
1930 5,503 54.4%
1940 5,855 6.4%
1950 5,596 −4.4%
1960 5,071 −9.4%
1970 4,329 −14.6%
1980 3,945 −8.9%
1990 3,300 −16.3%
2000 4,182 26.7%
2010 3,068 −26.6%
Est. 2014 2,896 [11] −5.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[12]

As of the census[13] of 2000, there were 4,182 people, 1,497 households, and 881 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,795.2 people per square mile (693.0/km²). There were 1,723 housing units at an average density of 739.6 per square mile (285.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 74.99% White, 4.78% African American, 3.35% Native American, 0.41% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 12.46% from other races, and 3.95% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 50.96% of the population.

There were 1,497 households out of which 25.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.1% were married couples living together, 13.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.1% were non-families. 37.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.25 and the average family size was 2.95.

In the city the population was spread out with 20.9% under the age of 18, 9.3% from 18 to 24, 31.1% from 25 to 44, 21.2% from 45 to 64, and 17.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 133.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 141.1 males.

John Mall High School

John Mall High School is the local high school. It is the only high school in Huerfano District Re-1. In the 2012-2013 school year,[14] there was a total enrollment of 116 students. 56% of the enrollment was male and 44% was female. There was a student to teacher ratio of 14:1, which is higher than the Colorado state average of 16:1. 66% of the student body identified as a minority, with most of them being Hispanic. The state average of minority enrollment is 44%. 71% of the students came from an economically disadvantaged household. Over five years, the district has seen a 5% decrease in the number of students enrolled. The graduation rate[15] is 53%, which is lower than the state average of 78%. Over five years, the graduation average in the district has fallen from 71% to 57%.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Active Colorado Municipalities". State of Colorado, Department of Local Affairs. Retrieved 2007-09-01.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Colorado County Seats". State of Colorado, Department of Public Health and Environment. Retrieved 2007-12-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Colorado Municipal Incorporations". State of Colorado, Department of Personnel & Administration, Colorado State Archives. 2004-12-01. Retrieved 2007-09-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "ZIP Code Lookup" (JavaScript/HTML). United States Postal Service. Retrieved 2008-01-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Will Overhead, a real no-name, once 'won' Indy 500 race". Wilington Morning Star. May 23, 1983. Retrieved January 22, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. The Talk of Gasoline Alley. May 5, 2003. 1070 WIBC-AM.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. The Talk of Gasoline Alley. May 12, 2008. WFNI.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "NOWData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved May 5, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "John Mall High School in WALSENBURG, CO | Best High Schools | US News". www.usnews.com. Retrieved 2015-11-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "John Mall High School Profile | Walsenburg, Colorado (CO)". www.publicschoolreview.com. Retrieved 2015-11-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links