The town of Pueblo Colorado started out in 1860 on the site of an old trading post.
The San Luis Valley was becoming a great place for farmers to start growing their crops.
Water, rich land, sunshine and gentle rains all helped the crops of the eastern plains grow quickly in Colorado's short growing season.
With the coming of the railroad into the valley, farmers, travelers and commerce had a quick and easy way to get from one point to another.
Iron ore was discovered at old gold mine sites and Pueblo was the perfect spot to start a steel business.
Known as the "Pittsburgh of the West", Pueblo grew very slowly. But with the coming of two of the biggest railroad companies, the Denver Rio Grande and the Santa Fe, settlement began booming.
Railroad tycoon William Jackson Palmer played a very important role in the town's development.
On property bought by the Denver Rio Grande, Palmer decided to build a steel and iron works, giving Pueblo its claim to fame.
Land and water were needed to run the factory. Pueblo had loads, plus the two railroads ensured the town of a strong economic future.
Not only was iron and steel smelted and shipped out to other areas, coal from the Rocky Mountains passed through Pueblo to their eventual destinations.
Now the town was a major industrial center of the area. Iron and steel were the founding materials, but coal became the backbone of the economy.
There were many coal fields in the southern area which encompassed Walsenburg and Trinidad.
New settlers, townspeople, stores and homes needed fuel for cooking and warmth.
Forests soon disappeared so the presence of abundant coal fit the bill.
It was inexpensive, clean burning and found just about everywhere in the southern coal fields.
Today, Pueblo still maintains its steel factory and the ambiance of a town that has survived the trials of Colorado's old west.