of Louis Vasquez
Luis VASQUEZ (3 Oct 1798 - 5 Sep 1868) was a well educated man who
spoke seven languages and resided in St. Louis, Missouri. His father,
Benito Andres VASQUEZ, came from Galicia, Spain with the Spanish
army to establish forts on the Mississippi River. Benito married
a French Acadian, became an Indian trader and help found the city
of St. Louis, Missouri. His brother Antoine "Baronet" Vasquez was
the interpreter for Zebulon Pike when in 1806 he explored the Huerfano
County area of Colorado.
Luis Vasquez (later called "Louis") was partner with Jim
Bridger at Fort Bridger in 1846. Louis married a widow, Narcissa
Burdette Land, about 1846 in a civil ceremony. The Vasquez marriage
was solemnized by Father DeSmet on the junction of Horse Creek and
the Platte River September 25, 1851 at the occasion of the "Great
Smoke" also known as The Horse Creek Treaty. The location of the
Treaty signing is just east of what today is Henry, Nebraska.
History of the Fort
and his partner, Andrew Sublett, after attending summer rendezvous's
(trapper celebrations) for two years in the Colorado Rocky Mountain
region, obtained a license to trade with the Indians in 1835.
In the fall of that year, they began construction of the fort
near the South Platte river in modern day Weld County, Colorado.
adobe fort was built by Mexican laborers recruited from northern
New Mexico and the style was patterned after Bent's Fort. Fort Vasquez
is located near the South Platte River, six miles upstream from
Fort St. Vrain and about three miles south of the present town of
was strategically situated between Fort Laramie in Wyoming and Bent's
Fort along the Arkansas River in Southern Colorado along the "Trappers
Trail" and became an important trading center for Native Americans.
Arapaho and Cheyenne tribes brought hides and pelts to the fort
in exchange for necessities, such as Hudson Bay blankets, kettles,
pots and pans.
the price and demand for beaver pelts declined, Vasquez and Sublett
sold the business to the Locke and Randolph Company between 1840
and 1841. Locke and Randolph had even less success and, after an
attack by Indians, they later abandoned it, leaving it in ruins
and Vasquez and Sublett with an unpaid note of $800.
of the original fort
the early 1860's Fort Vasquez was rebuilt and for a period of time
it was used as a stop on the famous Overland Stage system. Later
it became a base point for the United States troops sent to Colorado
to quell Indian uprisings.
the foundations and a few feet of the exterior walls were all that
remained by 1932. In 1934, the owners of the Fort Vasquez Ranch,
Pearl Perdiew and Ethel Hoffman deeded an acre of land surrounding
the fort to the Weld County Commissioners.
1935-36, the WPA (Works Project Administration created by
President Roosevelt's New Deal Administration) crews rebuilt
the walls from existing bricks on the location. Features
included the rebuilt fort with guard towers, firing ledges
and portals based on the best information available.
Between 1968-70, Colorado State University students excavated
more than 4,000 artifacts. Their work established the original
dimensions of the fort - 100' X 98.5' and located the true
foundations for the interior walls and fireplaces.
of the Fort*
Vasquez is located north of Fort Lupton in the median on U.S. Highway
85, three miles south of Platteville. It is listed in the National
Register of Historic Places and is administered by the Colorado
may tour the fort and visit the museum located on the site. The
museum summer hours are 9:30am to 4:30pm Monday through Saturday
and 1pm to 4:30pm Sunday.Winter hours (Labor Day to Memorial Day)
are: 9:30am to 4:30pm Wednesday through Saturday
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