La Junta was most likely founded as a railroad town. I say this because the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad built one of their regional offices here. The trackyard is larger than a town this size might need but there are also several feedlots along the tracks testifying to the amount of cattle that pass through here on their way to be processed in the big meat packing plants in the Midwest. In the old days, the reasonably easy ford of the Arkansas River here was also helpful.

La Junta, Colorado
One of many churches just off of downtown La Junta
La Junta Masonic Temple
The Masonic Temple, with retail shops on the first floor
the Santa Fe Railroad building
This was the local offices of the AT & SF Railroad
La Junta, Colorado
Looking through the front yard of the Colorado Bank & Trust at one of the old Fox Theaters
La Junta, Colorado
Built in 1890 in downtown La Junta

La Junta is a bustling, well-kept small city in the Arkansas River Valley. The Koshare Indian Museum and the rightly famous Koshare Indian Dancers are located here, as is the Otero County Junior College. Downtown has a nice collection of retail stores and is surrounded by quite an assortment of churches (and former church buildings). Except for the Colorado Bank & Trust complex and perhaps the Otero County offices, it looks like most of the construction downtown is pre-1930. One of the banks downtown has an interesting drive-through branch: the teller's office is in a refurbed railroad caboose. There is also a full-service hospital in La Junta, on the south side of town.

American author Ken Kesey (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) was born in La Junta.

La Junta, Colorado
Notice the elk on the balcony of the Elks Lodge in downtown La Junta
La Junta, Colorado
This brick edifice was constructed just as the Great Depression was getting underway
La Junta, Colorado
Quite the structure for a video rental shop

La Junta is a great starting-off point for journeys into the historic aspects of eastern and southern Colorado. La Junta is very close to where the Mountain Branch of the Santa Fe Trail left the Arkansas River Valley and headed south along the Purgatoire River to Trinidad. About 30 miles south of town you can even journey back 150 million years and explore the longest dinosaur tracksite in the world at Picketwire Canyonlands. A few miles northeast of town is the Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site, originally built when the Arkansas River was the international boundary between the United States and the Spanish Empire in the New World. And this area was traversed by Native American tribes for thousands of years before that (that's why the Koshare Indian Museum).