On the way home from Cheyenne, WY., I was able to visit yet another on my list of early Colorado historic forts and fort sites. The site of Fort Vasquez is located between Greeley and Ft. Lupton in Platteville on Highway 85. This site is not only a reconstruction of the original fort, but is also a welcome center and museum. The museum may be small, but fascinating. The staff is extremely knowledgeable about the fort and the era when this type of business/trading post was important in what was to become the state of Colorado.
For those of you who would like to know more, here is a brief history of this site.
With the growth and change in the fur trade industry came the business forts. Originally the trappers, mountain men, would take their furs to St. Louis and other Eastern cities. Then there came the rendezvous where the furs were brought to areas closer to the mountains. Finally the forts, such as Bent's fort began to play a bigger role in the fur trade. Soon there were forts populating the eastern plains of Colorado. Ft. Vasquez was one to these.
Built by Louis Vasquez and Andrew Sublette in 1835 it remained in use, with different 'managers' and owners until 1842 when the structure was abandoned. Over the years it was probably shelter for travelers and other uses we may never know about.
During the 1960's college students did archaeological digging in the area and even more information about the fort came to life.
If you are ever up that way, stop by. You may see a mountain man in the fort along with some of the other people who stopped by while in the area during those early days.
For more information you can visit the following links: