Las Animas, Colorado facts for kids

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Las Animas, Colorado
The City of Souls
Statutory City
Las Animas City Hall
Las Animas City Hall
Location in Bent County and the state of Colorado
Location in Bent County and the state of Colorado
Country  United States
State  State of Colorado
County Bent County Seat
Incorporated May 15, 1886
Area
 • Total 1.7 sq mi (4.3 km2)
 • Land 1.6 sq mi (4.2 km2)
 • Water 0.04 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation 3,898 ft (1,188 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 2,410
 • Density 1,488/sq mi (574.4/km2)
Time zone Mountain (MST) (UTC-7)
 • Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6)
ZIP code 81054
Area code(s) 719
FIPS code 08-43660
GNIS feature ID 0195526

Las Animas is the Statutory City that is the county seat and the only incorporated municipality in Bent County, Colorado, United States. The city population was 2,410 at the 2010 United States Census. Las Animas is located in southeast Colorado east of Pueblo, near the historic Bent's Fort.

History

Las Animas is located on the Arkansas River, just west of its confluence with the Purgatoire River (or "Purgatory River").

A famous legend says that the town and the Purgatoire River were named for a group of conquistadors, probably part of Coronado's expedition, who died without the last rites sacrament of a priest. According to Catholic belief, their souls would go to Purgatory as a result. The original Spanish name for Las Animas ("The Souls," in Spanish) was purported to be La Ciudad de Las Animas Perdidos en Purgatorio, "The city of lost souls in Purgatory."

According to the book Trinidad, Colorado Territory by Morris F. Taylor, this explanation is not consistent with Spanish Catholic belief. Souls in purgatory are not lost; they are in limbo for a short time of purification before ascending to heaven. According to Taylor, the French developed the connotation of souls in Purgatory.

The Spanish version, El Rio de las Animas Perdidas en Purgatorio, was considered an embellishment of the French version. No 19th-century map shows this full Spanish name or any translation of it. Existing maps have different names for the river: Rio de Las Animas, Purgatory River, and "Picatoire", a corruption of Purgatoire (which today is anglicized as Picketwire). French fur traders of the 19th century referred to the river as the Purgatoire. Another anglicization was Pick of Ware.

Water issues

Water is a central issue in Las Animas. Like many cities in southeastern Colorado, Las Animas competes with wealthier cities on the Front Range for the water to sustain life and the local agricultural economy. Developers and municipalities have capitalized upon drought and low crop prices by buying water from desperate farmers. As this water is diverted upstream to serve the larger cities, Las Animas loses access to this important resource.

Because of the poor quality of the city's water supply, a reverse-osmosis filtration plant was installed in the mid-1990s. The loss of minerals in the water resulted in the collapse of many water mains, which had been supported by mineral deposits that formed on the insides of the pipes.

Geography

U.S. Post Office, Las Animas, CO IMG 5736
U.S. Post Office in Las Animas

Las Animas is located in northwest Bent County at 38°4′1″N 103°13′33″W / 38.06694°N 103.22583°W / 38.06694; -103.22583 (38.066980, -103.225937), along the Arkansas River. U.S. Highway 50 is the main highway through the city, leading west 82 miles (132 km) to Pueblo and east 36 miles (58 km) to Lamar.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.7 square miles (4.3 km2), of which 1.6 square miles (4.2 km2) is land and 0.039 square miles (0.1 km2), or 2.75%, is water.

Climate

Las Animas is often one of the warmest cities in Colorado, however winters can still be quite cold. The record low temperature in Las Animas of -32 °F (-36 °C) occurred most recently on January 28, 1948. The record high temperature for Las Animas is 114 °F (46 °C) and occurred most recently on June 24, 2012. Each year there are roughly 74 days that hit 90 °F (32 °C) or warmer and 16 that reach at least 100 °F (38 °C). The record for lowest maximum temperature was on December 20, 1924, when the high was -8 °F (-22 °C). On the other end of the spectrum, Las Animas' warmest minimum temperature occurred August 2, 1935, with a low of 89 °F (32 °C).

Climate data for Las Animas, Colorado (Temps: 1893–2015, Snowfall: 1981-2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 84
(28.9)
85
(29.4)
94
(34.4)
100
(37.8)
106
(41.1)
114
(45.6)
114
(45.6)
110
(43.3)
104
(40)
98
(36.7)
90
(32.2)
88
(31.1)
114
(45.6)
Average high °F (°C) 47.5
(8.61)
51.1
(10.61)
61.0
(16.11)
70.1
(21.17)
79.4
(26.33)
89.3
(31.83)
94.6
(34.78)
91.8
(33.22)
83.4
(28.56)
71.1
(21.72)
57.6
(14.22)
46.8
(8.22)
70.3
(21.28)
Average low °F (°C) 15.1
(-9.39)
19.5
(-6.94)
28.2
(-2.11)
37.0
(2.78)
47.7
(8.72)
57.3
(14.06)
62.6
(17)
61.2
(16.22)
51.5
(10.83)
37.6
(3.11)
24.5
(-4.17)
15.6
(-9.11)
38.2
(3.44)
Record low °F (°C) −32
(-35.6)
−31
(-35)
−26
(-32.2)
5
(-15)
17
(-8.3)
32
(0)
32
(0)
34
(1.1)
22
(-5.6)
0
(-17.8)
−14
(-25.6)
−32
(-35.6)
−32
(-35.6)
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.38
(9.7)
0.41
(10.4)
0.93
(23.6)
1.24
(31.5)
1.94
(49.3)
1.87
(47.5)
2.24
(56.9)
1.69
(42.9)
1.16
(29.5)
1.08
(27.4)
0.42
(10.7)
0.37
(9.4)
13.36
(339.3)
Snowfall inches (cm) 4.7
(11.9)
2.6
(6.6)
3.7
(9.4)
0.8
(2)
0.1
(0.3)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.2
(0.5)
1.2
(3)
2.2
(5.6)
3.3
(8.4)
18.8
(47.8)
Source: NOAA

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 52
1890 611 1,075.0%
1900 1,192 95.1%
1910 2,008 68.5%
1920 2,252 12.2%
1930 2,517 11.8%
1940 3,232 28.4%
1950 3,223 −0.3%
1960 3,402 5.6%
1970 3,148 −7.5%
1980 2,818 −10.5%
1990 2,481 −12.0%
2000 2,758 11.2%
2010 2,410 −12.6%
Est. 2015 2,227 −7.6%
U.S. Decennial Census
St. Mary's Catholic Church in Las Animas, CO (Photo 2) IMG 5727
St. Mary's Catholic Church in Las Animas

As of the census of 2000, there were 2,758 people, 1,091 households, and 716 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,134.2 people per square mile (825.5/km²). There were 1,264 housing units at an average density of 978.1 per square mile (378.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 74.87% White, 0.91% African American, 2.86% Native American, 0.58% Asian, 15.34% from other races, and 5.44% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 42.60% of the population.

There were 1,091 households out of which 31.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.0% were married couples living together, 14.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.3% were non-families. 30.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 3.04.

In the city, the population was spread out with 27.3% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 24.0% from 25 to 44, 22.2% from 45 to 64, and 17.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 94.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 117.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $26,157, and the median income for a family was $29,815. Males had a median income of $26,168 versus $23,250 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,893. About 19.7% of families and 25.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 39.3% of those under age 18 and 14.4% of those age 65 or over.

Santa Fe Trail Day

Las Animas sits along the Mountain Branch of the Santa Fe Trail and served as the major city in southeast Colorado until the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad established operations in La Junta, 20 miles (32 km) to the west of Las Animas.

Las Animas celebrates an annual Santa Fe Trail Day, a celebration of the pioneers and traders who used this trail. This local holiday is the oldest student council-sponsored event in the US. The Las Animas High School Student Council organizes the day, with assistance from the Bent County Chamber of Commerce. Festivities have included a parade, a costume contest, square dancing, a demolition derby, and a traditional "Ranchburger" lunch, as well as many other activities. In past years, students have spread out events over a two-day period, sometimes making this a weekend event. The event occurs on the last Friday in April.

On April 24, 2009, Las Animas celebrated its 75th Annual Santa Fe Trail Day with events throughout the weekend. Past Santa Fe Trail Day Queen Royalty, dating to the 1940s, were invited, as well as Student Council Presidents since 1944.

Transportation

Bus service is provided daily eastward towards Wichita, Kansas and westward towards Pueblo, Colorado by BeeLine Express (subcontractor of Greyhound Lines).

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