One of the treasures of Colorado using split rail fence is the Great Sand Dunes National Park. The park surrounds one of the highest sand dunes in North America and is another must see in the state. The boundaries of the state park house many sites of significance. One of these are the Trujillo Homesteads. The homesteads surrounded by split rail fence were designated a National Historic Landmark in 2012. Their importance stems from their representation of the Hispano-American settlement inside the confines of the split rail fences. After this American Southwest land was claimed and marked by split rail fence resulting from the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hildago it was turned into one of the largest and wealthiest Hispano ranches in the San Luis Valley. The leading rancher was Tefolio Trujullo.
Protection for the Trujillo Homesteads
The split rail fences on the land protected many two-story homes that housed other ranchers of the area. Cattle ranching proved to be a lucrative staple for the Trujillo Homesteads. The prized cattle were guarded from predators and poachers by the split rail fences lining the land.
These split rail fences are some of the only remaining archeological evidence to prove the existence of the Trujillo Homesteads. Some of the homesteads were repaired and rebuilt inside the split rail fences but most did not withstand that harsh conditions of the land and perished over time.
Researchers today continue to survey the land inside the boundaries of the split rail fences in hopes of finding historical artifacts to preserve the Trujillo history. Items such as these found inside the split rail fences of the park could increase its historical precedence.
The success of the Trujillo ranch is a constant reminder of the Hispano fight against the Anglo culture during its time. The split rail fences not only enclosed the homesteads but provided a visual barrier between the two battling cultures.
History of the Trujillo Homesteads
The Hispanos migrated inside the split rail fences to prove they deserved to occupy land and make a life for themselves despite the beliefs of the governing Anglos.
The Trujillos were the first permanent settlers residing the Great Sand Dunes National Park. They raised six children within the split rail fences. The Trujillo wealth came from raising 100 milk cows, 30 cattle, 10 horses, and 10 oxen in the interior of the split rail fences of the homesteads. The Trujillo’s also grew substantial amounts of potatoes, peas, wheat, and tobacco and sold them for hefty profits outside of the split rail fences.
This famous but not so well-know family that lived protected by split rail fences of the Great Sand Dune National Park were a large part of Colorado history.
They strived to survive against local Anglo animosity for years and became icons amid the Hispano culture. They continued to find ways to expand their wealth to broaden the expanse of the split rail fences. They added sheep to their livestock inside the split rail fences and their fortune rapidly grew at the disgust of the Anglos.
Despite facing more retaliation and being forced to retreat inside the protective division of the split rail fences the Trujillo family forged on. They consistently fell victim to vandalism of their homesteads and split rail fences as well as mass killings of their livestock.
The Trujillo Homesteads Today
Today visitors to the Great Sand Dunes National Park can relive some of this history and see some of the original buildings and split rail fences. Although this battle between is not often in the forefront of Colorado history, it is a meaningful part of it.
Here at Cedar Fence Direct, we proudly offer split rail fencing options to the public. If you would like to install split rail fencing for your property, don’t hesitate to reach out! We would be happy to walk you through the entire process, and answer any questions that you might have.