About the Fort Vasquez Chapter -  Brighton, Colorado

| Home | About Our Chapter | Officers & Committees | Calendar | Youth Programs |
| Our Patriots | Resources | Fort Vasquez History |

Plaque outside the fort
Plaque outside the fort

Looking out from the Guard Tower
Looking out from the Guard Tower

Outside the fort wall
Outside fort wall

Archaeological Site Marker
Archaeological Site Marker

Yellow Arrow Visit the Fort Vasquez Museum website
  Web hyperlinks to non-DAR sites are not the responsibility of the NSDAR, the state organizations, or individual DAR chapters.

*Images courtesy of the Colorado Historical Society

Biography of Louis Vasquez

Pierre 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.

Pierre 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.

Early History of the Fort

Louis Vasquez
Louis Vasquez*
Louis 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.
Andrew Sublett
Andrew Sublett*

The 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 Platteville, Colorado.

It 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.

When 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.

Ruins of the original fort
Ruins of the original fort

In 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.

Sadly, 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.

Fort Vasquez Restoration

In 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.

Restoration of the fort
Restoration of the Fort*


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 Historical Society.

Visitors 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

| top of page |

Fort Vasquez Today
Fort Vasquez Today

This Fort Vasquez Chapter website is maintained by the State VIS Committee Please direct any membership inquiries to:
[email protected]
Last Updated:
September 6, 2018
The content contained herein does not necessarily represent the position of the NSDAR. Hyperlinks to other sites are not the responsibility of the NSDAR, the state organizations, or individual DAR chapters.
| Home | About Our Chapter | Officers & Committees | Calendar | Youth Programs |
| Our Patriots | Resources | Fort Vasquez History |

| Privacy Policy |