An important and integral aspect of Fort Union National Monument is its connection with the Santa Fe Trail. In fact, the official name of the park is Fort Union National Monument, Santa Fe National Historic Trail. For that reason, the story I’m attempting to tell about the fort has to include the Santa Fe Trail as well.
One of the last landmarks along the Santa Fe Trail before travelers arrived at Fort Union is Wagon Mound. So called because it was thought to look like a covered wagon being drawn my oxen when seen in profile.
Speaking of profiles, the most distant mountain on the right side of this image is known as Hermit’s Peak for an Italian penitent named Giovanni D’Agostini (he later went by Juan Maria de Agostini) who lived there in a cave beginning around 1860. Just to the left of the main part Hermit’s Peak is an area of the mountain that appears to be the face of Abraham Lincoln in repose.
And, of course, travelers on the trail always stopped at Fort Union to rest, make equipment repairs, and replenish supplies for the last leg of the journey to Santa Fe. Today it’s a mere 90-minute drive. With oxen or mules pulling the wagons, the remainder of the journey took about 5 days.
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