Felipe and Dolores Baca

Hispanic Pioneers

Great Lives in Colorado Series by E. E. Duncan

  • Ages 8 to 10
  • Bilingual in English and Spanish
  • 69 pages
  • Paperback
  • Publication date: 2013

Quote from Book:

“Long before covered wagons brought settlers west from the eastern United States, Hispanic pioneers were moving north from Mexico to live in the area that is now the states of New Mexico and Colorado. Felipe and Dolores arrived in their new home in 1861, the same year Colorado became a territory of the United States.”
-from Felipe and Dolores Baca: Hispanic Pioneers by E. E. Duncan

About the Book:

Felipe and Dolores Baca were the founders of the town of Trinidad, Colorado. They encouraged Hispanic settlers to move to the southern Colorado Territory and established an enduring Hispanic culture in the area. In 1866, they donated 75 acres of land as the town site. As community leaders, they helped different groups of people live together on the land. Eventually, they became some of the richest people in the Territory. Felipe was involved in politics and played a role in helping Colorado become a state. Their home, the Baca House, is now a History Colorado museum.

Author’s Note:

I grew up in Colorado and rarely heard anything in my history lessons about the Hispanic people and their long-standing contributions to Colorado history. In my research, I found that one of the conditions for Felipe Baca to support Colorado’s bid for statehood was that the Colorado Constitution to be published in English and Spanish. It was a thrilling moment when I sat in the History Colorado Research Library with an original Spanish copy of the Constitution in my hands. I am gratified that students in Colorado now have access to a story that has been overshadowed by mainstream history.


Great Lives in Colorado History: What we learned by channeling our inner third-grader
Denver teachers rewrite history — and their curriculum — with 13 Colorado biographies

Baca House
Baca House. Felipe and Dolores Baca’s house is now a History Colorado museum, located in Trinidad. Visitors can learn about Hispanic life in Colorado and the history of Trinidad. (Picture by E. E. Duncan)
Trinidad, Colo. This is an early photograph of Trinidad. The original Baca plaza can be seen at the bottom of the picture. (Picture courtesy of Denver Public Library, Western History Collection)