The Orphan: Do You Know Huerfano?

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The Orphan: Do You Know Huerfano?
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The Orphan: Do You Know Huerfano?
EchoHawk, Dana
Place of Publication:
Denver, CO
Center for Colorado and the West
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Auraria Library
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Auraria Library
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The Orphan: Do You Know Huerfano? | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library[12/8/2015 9:40:35 AM] Home The Orphan: Do You Know Huerfano?The Orphan: Do You Know Huerfano?Submitted by nwharton on 11-5-2012 07:15 AMAuthor: John W. Manos Publishing: La Veta, Colorado: Rinehart Publishing, Inc., 2012 Reviewer: Dana EchoHawk Do You Know Huerfano? is an apt subtitle for this collection of reprinted articles first published as columns in the Signature newspaper. Relying on interviews with local residents, John Manos has authored the column since 2007. The main title, The Orphan is translated as hurfano in Spanish and describes the recognizable dark stony mound that surprises travelers when they first view Huerfano Butte, a cone-shaped aberration jutting up from the flat plains along the east side of I-25 in Huerfano County, Colorado. In answer to their silent question, What is that? Manos offers definitions and stories pertaining to the regions geology, its people, and the industries that shaped this county in the southern part of Colorado. Most articles are enhanced with photographs and maps. Manos, a professional photographer and journalist, is an able, easy-to-read writer. Huerfano County has a rich and lengthy history interlaced with trails connecting the mountains to the plains across the midsection of southern Colorado. El Huerfano, or the Orphan cone, may be symbolic for the region, but its history and events of the past are less evident to Coloradans. This county lies south of the Arkansas River, which separated the U. S. from Spain and, after 1821, from Mexico. Its Hispano heritage lingers. Native American tribes crisscrossed the area leaving little visible trace of their camps or the battle sites where they fought the Spanish. Trappers and traders followed, and early Hispano settlements in the upper Huerfano Valley began to appear in the nineteenth century. Farming, ranching, and industries ebbed and died, and today this economically challenged part of the state is relatively unknown to many Coloradans. As Manos states, defining Huerfano is not an easy task(vii). Not only is it no easy task, the nature of a newspaper column may provide adequate space for an entertaining and easy read, but it is not lengthy enough to do more than whet the appetite of more serious readers. Although his current research is solid, Manoss articles leave historical gaps. Coloradans would benefit should Manos consider a second book expounding in depth on the history of Huerfano County. Nevertheless, The Orphan will be a useful resource on various levels for students of Huerfano County history and local history buffs alike. The coverage of less well known characters with anecdotes and photographs makes up for the desire to read more than these short columns. The book is divided into eighteen chapters, each containing a series of articles. In the beginning, Manos provides geological clarification that Huerfano Butte is not volcanic, but rather a plug of alkali basalt. He explains why there is a notch at the top of the butte and why the southern part of the butte is dark colored EXPLORE BY MEDIABook Reviews Photographs Video Biographies New Publications Resource Guides County Newspaper HistoriesEXPLORE BY TOPICLand & Natural Resources Government & Law Agriculture Mining Commerce & Industry Transportation People & Places Communication Healthcare & Medicine Education & Libraries Cultural Communities Recreation & Entertainment Tourism ReligionEXPLORE BY CULTUREHispanic Native AmericanWithin Colorado boundaries are lands once claimed by Spanish kings and Mexican governors.


The Orphan: Do You Know Huerfano? | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library[12/8/2015 9:40:35 AM] Auraria Library 303-556-4587 1100 Lawrence Street Denver, Colorado 80204 In the News Partners & Donations About Us Contact Us while the northern part is lighter. Proceeding chronologically, column topics encompass stories of early Mexican settlements, adobe plazas, and military forts. The Hispano ghost towns of Badito, the first Huerfano County town built in 1855, and the village of Cucharas, not to be confused with current day Cuchara, are recalled. Articles are devoted to the Civil War when many in Huerfano County supported the Confederates but kept their allegiance secret since Colorado had joined the Union. His far-ranging columns discuss everything from the history of captives used in servitude by Huerfano County families to wind farms. His Gold Seekers and Entrepreneurs section features William Green Russell, commonly remembered for making the first gold strike in Colorado on the South Platte River. Later Russell staked a claim on Apache Creek in Huerfano County and led immigrants from Georgia to a colony located between Badito and Huerfano Butte. Another section focuses on historic buildings, noting that we often pass familiar buildings, paying little notice to them, and not knowing some are icons of the past(146). He covers nine historic structures, including one tucked away from common view and a hospital that now takes in guests as a Bed and Breakfast. Railroad development and mining, ranching, and farming are among the eighteen sections. Food and drink are not overlooked, and a 2007 column includes a recipe for Injun Whiskey requiring gunpowder as an ingredient, along with the warning: Do not use modern high-speed gunpowder, which is poisonous!(182) Manos lingers over a recent La Veta Hotel Christmas menu reminiscent of days gone by, including trout, rabbit, elk, champignons, duck and more, topped off with mince pie or plum pudding. Manos completes The Orphan collection with columns about twentieth-century residents such as Felix Belois Mestas Jr., who died in Italy during World War II and for whom Mount Baldy was renamed Mount Mestas in his honor. In summary, this collection is a quick read covering a breadth of topics, characters, events, and issues. Manos does provide a bibliography of books, public documents, records, periodicals, and newspapers. As a starting point for understanding the past of Huerfano County, The Orphan is a worthy addition to this neglected region. Reviewer Info: Dana EchoHawk is completing her masters degree in history with a focus on the history of the American West at the University of Colorado Denver. She received the Ward Family Prize in Public History and was a Coulter Scholar in Colorado history. She is a King Fellow at the Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria and was a Koch Fellow at the Colorado Historical Society. With colleague Vicky Bunsen, Echohawk prepared the nomination for the 2011 National Register designation of the Montoya Ranch in Huerfano County, Colorado. She is currently working on a thesis exploring the history of Mormons in the San Luis Valley.