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Bent County Courthouse

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1887, Holmberg Bros. Carson to Bent aves. between 7th and 8th sts. (NR)
  • (Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)
  • (Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)

Colorado's oldest active courthouse is symmetrical on all sides, with recessed bays and a roofline of hipped and mansard elements, now missing its original iron cresting. The two-story red brick building has an elevated basement of rough-faced sandstone block and tooled sandstone trim in the same beige color. The vernacular composition combines round arches with molded and dentiled cornices and lintels, a pediment above the entrance, and large, open corner towers with mansarded caps. The effect is vertical and elegant despite problematic additions and alterations outside. Some of the original interior remains.

To the north on the square-block grounds, the sheriff's office and jail (1902) has the look of a late Victorian home, except for the heavy metal window grids. South of the courthouse is the Santa Fe depot, which has the same plan and appearance as the depot in Rocky Ford (Otero County), with a low hipped roof and dormers over projecting polygonal bays. The north side of the red brick Prairie Style depot boasts a substantial porte-cochère with stone support pillars. With the courthouse in the background, this must have been an impressive scene for early rail travelers.

Writing Credits

Thomas J. Noel


What's Nearby


Thomas J. Noel, "Bent County Courthouse", [Las Animas, Colorado], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

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