Back, to the Past at LCC

Fur Trader-Mountain Man



Southeast Colorado residents get to take a time trip ever two years when they visit the Frontier History Encampment at Lamar Community College, now featuring its eighth incarnation on the acreage between the main dorm and main building.

Visitors have two days, Friday and Saturday, to visit and view the historical sites, each depicting a ten year stage of growth in a typical lifestyle on the High Plains.

Historians Jim Sebastian and Greg Waltrip represent the 1820s when mountain men ventured into mostly unexplored realms of lands around the Rockies. Their form of commerce was direct barter, ‘this for that’ which helped pave the way for a group of people determined to move west to lands beyond the Mississippi River.

Cleaning and Cooking for the Troops at $7 a Month

There were more to follow in their footsteps including merchants traveling the Santa Fe Trail, blacksmits and wagonwrights and early pioneers who looked for a more established setting for their lives.

A new feature this year were the Buffalo Soldiers and wives, represented by John Bell, Jeannette Bell and Fred Applewhite. Bell explained that following the Civil War, former slaves migrated west with the majority joining the army and guarding wagon trains and maintaining the laws of those lands.  He noted that as historical fact, one out of every three cowboys was black.

Uber, 1850s Style

The decades rolled along with a U.S. Artillery and Cavalry unit, general stores and chuckwagons with Chad and Cheryl Hart and Dave Wade. This team offered some savory beans from the pot to visitors and were preparing beef tips, mashed potatoes, beans and a cobbler for the historians for that evening, all off the back of their wagon and historical cooking gear.  “Chicken Fried Steaks tomorrow night,” said Hart.

The 1890’s were represented by Buffalo Bill Cody, one of the more famous names to come from the Old and Wild West. R.D. Melfi and his wife, Barb, have been historical enactors for over 20 years and Barb was featured at the college two years ago as Annie Oakley.  “Buffalo Bill was touring the world and performing up until 1913 in what was a combined show.  He also traveled throughout Europe, performing for Queen Victoria of Great Britain on her 50th birthday,” he explained.

The encampment can be followed @lccencampment on facebook. In-kind donations and community partners, as well as funding from the Prowers Lodging Panel help make the bi-annual event possible.

By Russ Baldwin


Filed Under: City of LamarCollegeCountyEntertainmentEventsHistoryRecreationSchoolTourism


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