PHOTOS: Avondale, Colorado

By Mike Sweeney
SPECIAL TO THE PUEBLO STAR JOURNAL
  • Cattle graze in a field along Martin Lane March 2, 2022, in Avondale. The small unincorporated town is surrounded by ranches and farmland.
  • The shuttered Avondale Arapahoe grocery store, once the the site of the town’s trading post, is shown in this March 2, 2022, photo. Avondale residents have to drive nearly 20 miles to Pueblo to shop for groceries
  • James Birner, shown here in a March 2, 2022, photo, is an Avondale native, who left the small town, only to return to operate Chuck’s Place, the tavern owned for three generations by his family.
  • James Birner tries to keep a week-old kid goat from escaping its pen while other farm animals mill about March 2, 2022, in Avondale.
  • Jennifer Trujillo, sorts produce at the March 2, 2022, Care And Share food bank in Avondale.
  • Kassi Robinson, right, enters data that helps track inventory at the weekly Care And Share food bank March 2, 2022, in Avondale.
  • Lynn Soto is the Avondale Resident Team Project Coordinator.
  • Avondale’s McHarg Park Community Center is home to the town’s Boys & Girls Club and a small gym.
  • Avondale is Pueblo County’s eastern-most town, with a population of just under 600.
  • Avondale is Pueblo County’s eastern-most town, with a population of just under 600.
  • The Avondale Veteran’s Memorial
  • A mural depicting a scene from the Vietnam War is par of the Veterans Memorial in Avondale.
Cattle graze in a field along Martin Lane March 2, 2022, in Avondale. The small unincorporated town is surrounded by ranches and farmland.
Cattle graze in a field along Martin Lane March 2, 2022, in Avondale. The small unincorporated town is surrounded by ranches and farmland.
The shuttered Avondale Arapahoe grocery store, once the the site of the town’s trading post, is shown in this March 2, 2022, photo. Avondale residents have to drive nearly 20 miles to Pueblo to shop for groceries
The shuttered Avondale Arapahoe grocery store, once the the site of the town’s trading post, is shown in this March 2, 2022, photo. Avondale residents have to drive nearly 20 miles to Pueblo to shop for groceries.
James Birner, shown here in a March 2, 2022, photo, is an Avondale native, who left the small town, only to return to operate Chuck’s Place, the tavern owned for three generations by his family.
James Birner, shown here in a March 2, 2022, photo, is an Avondale native, who left the small town, only to return to operate Chuck’s Place, the tavern owned for three generations by his family.
James Birner tries to keep a week-old kid goat from escaping its pen while other farm animals mill about March 2, 2022, in Avondale.
James Birner tries to keep a week-old kid goat from escaping its pen while other farm animals mill about March 2, 2022, in Avondale. Birner raises goats, chickens, rabbits, turkeys, peacocks, and a pony at his one-acre Avondale home. He also owns the local tavern, Chuck’s Place.
Jennifer Trujillo, sorts produce at the March 2, 2022, Care And Share food bank in Avondale.
Jennifer Trujillo, sorts produce at the March 2, 2022, Care And Share food bank in Avondale. The program serves a number of Avondale-area residents who can’t afford groceries or lack transportation to drive to the nearest store 6 miles away in Vineland.
Kassi Robinson, right, enters data that helps track inventory at the weekly Care And Share food bank March 2, 2022, in Avondale.
Kassi Robinson, right, enters data that helps track inventory at the weekly Care And Share food bank March 2, 2022, in Avondale. The program serves a number of Avondale-area residents who can’t afford groceries or lack transportation to drive to the nearest store 6 miles away in Vineland. (Mike Sweeney, Special to The Pueblo Star Journal)
Lynn Soto is the Avondale Resident Team Project Coordinator.
Lynn Soto is the Avondale Resident Team Project Coordinator. The team has installed a “blessing box,” a cache of food, free to anyone who may need it.
Avondale’s McHarg Park Community Center is home to the town’s Boys & Girls Club and a small gym.
Avondale’s McHarg Park Community Center is home to the town’s Boys & Girls Club and a small gym. It played a vital role during the pandemic as a Wi-Fi hub for area students’ remote learning.
Avondale is Pueblo County’s eastern-most town, with a population of just under 600.
Avondale is Pueblo County’s eastern-most town, with a population of just under 600.
Avondale is Pueblo County’s eastern-most town, with a population of just under 600.
Avondale is Pueblo County’s eastern-most town, with a population of just under 600.
The Avondale Veteran’s Memorial
The Avondale Veteran’s Memorial in this March 2, 2022, photo.
A mural depicting a scene from the Vietnam War is par of the Veterans Memorial in Avondale.
A mural depicting a scene from the Vietnam War is par of the Veterans Memorial in Avondale.

About the photojournalist


Mike Sweeney is an ardent believer in photojournalism’s capacity to educate, foster change and entertain. Over the span of 25 years, he’s worked as a visual journalist in Oregon, California, and Colorado. During that time, he’s received over 30 regional awards while covering news, sports, and feature stories.

His work has appeared in publications throughout Colorado, including The Colorado Sun, Colorado Newsline, and The Denver Post. Mike’s photographs have made their way to the pages of The Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times and GQ magazine, as well. He also has an interest in documenting Colorado’s renewable energy sector.

In 2017 Mike became a Federal Aviation Administration-certified drone pilot, allowing him to share his distinctive take on subjects from a fresh perspective. He’s also a member of the Colorado Press Association.

Mike is a graduate of California State University, Chico. He lives in southern Colorado with his wife, Monica, their dog, and three cats.

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