Latitude / Longitude:
38°26′12″N 102°32′32″W / 38.43667°N 102.54222°W / 38.43667
3,891 ft (1,186 m
Mountain (MST) (UTC-7)
Chivington is an unincorporated community in Kiowa County, Colorado, United States. The U.S. Post Office at Eads (ZIP Code 81036) now serves Chivington postal addresses.
Chivington was named for the Reverend John Chivington, a colonel in the Union Army during the American Civil War, who was celebrated as the hero of the 1862 Battle of Glorieta Pass and commanded the 700 Union soldiers who perpetrated the Sand Creek massacre, a slaughter of Native Americans in a nearby gulch. The massacre was condemned by the United States Congress Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War and Territorial Governor John Evans lost his job for encouraging Chivington.
A few newer homes are still occupied in Chivington, but the town consists mostly of a few abandoned but still-standing ruins, more partially collapsed buildings (the former school house degrades, year-by-year), and many piles of bricks mark where the town once stood. Standard green highway markers (“Chivington”) identify what these ruins once were. The post office existed into the 1980s but nearby Eads today offers the nearest postal service and amenities like stores and gas stations. Lamar is the closest remaining “significant” town on Colorado’s eastern plains. Chivington appears to be returning, like much of eastern Colorado, to its sparse grassland and prairieland origins. One of the former town’s buildings contains a ghost sign asking for Chivington citizens to vote for a man named Jan King, who ran for the office of Kiowa County clerk. The famous TransAmerica Cycling Trail passes through Chivington and is frequented by hundreds of cyclists annually.
Chivington (est. 1887) was one of several railroad towns in Kiowa County on eastern Colorado’s plains along the Missouri Pacific Railroad line, and in the late 19th century, eastern Colorado had a lot of agriculture and related commerce. Railroad workers also briefly contributed to the local economy as the Missouri Pacific extended into Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Palmer Lake, and eventually brought service into Denver. As new towns along this railroad line formed, they were named alphabetically, which might explain why “Chivington” was chosen—with the massacre site only about 9 miles away, “C” brought the name “Chivington” to mind. And in Colorado, the massacre was not as infamous as in the rest of the nation.