Since the winds were still howling we decided to keep riding to a minimum and just go the short distance (10 miles) to the Pueblo Zoo and then down to the Arkansas River Walk through the Old Town Pueblo.
The current city of Pueblo represents the consolidation of four towns: Pueblo (incorporated 1870), South Pueblo (incorporated 1873), Central Pueblo (incorporated 1882), and Bessemer (incorporated 1886). Pueblo, South Pueblo, and Central Pueblo legally consolidated as the City of Pueblo between March 9 and April 6, 1886. Bessemer joined Pueblo in 1894.
The consolidated city was once a major economic and social center of Colorado, and was home to important early Colorado families such as the Thatchers, the Ormans and the Adamses. Until a series of major floods culminated in the Great Flood of 1921, Pueblo was considered the ‘Saddle-Making capital of the World’. Roughly one-third of Pueblo’s downtown businesses were lost in this flood, along with a substantial number of buildings. Pueblo has long struggled to come to grips with this loss, and has only recently begun a resurgence in growth.
The main industry in Pueblo for most of its history was the Colorado Fuel and Iron (CF&I) steel mill on the south side of town. The steel-market crash of 1982 led to the decline of the company. The facility operated blast furnaces until 1982, when the bottom fell out of the steel market. The main blast furnace structures were torn down in 1989, but due to asbestos content, many of the adjacent stoves still remain.
Several of the administration buildings, including the main office building, dispensary, and tunnel gatehouse were purchased in 2003 by the Bessemer Historical Society. In 2006, they underwent renovation. In addition to housing the historic CF&I Archives, they also house the Steelworks Museum of Industry and Culture (which we didn’t visit).
Pueblo sits in a “high desert” area of terrain in southern Colorado.
The Pueblo Zoo is a nice little municipal zoo with a ton of greenery. It was so pleasant after being at the Pueblo State Park which is dry and dusty. We saw many different animals and learned that there are red panda bears. They are smaller than the black and white pandas. Ralph and I both love animals so it was a pleasant couple of hours.
Then we headed over to the River Walk. Pueblo has developed the old town area along the Arkansas River with shops and restaurants and a lovely walking path on both sides of the river. Many of the old buildings have been refurbished and some are still in that process.
We had lunch at the Gold Dust Saloon before heading back to camp.
It was nice to get off our butts and walk instead of riding and was a very pleasant day indeed.