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Fort Vasquez Museum

The Fort Vasquez Museum is located at 13412 US Highway 85 in Platteville, Colorado. The museum and the surrounding area have a rich history that is an important part of Western life in the United States. It all started in 1835 when mountain man and fur trader Louis Vasquez founded Fort Vasquez. Vasquez established the fur trading post along with fellow trader Andrew Sublette. The post was located about 35 miles northeast of Denver. From the 1820s to the 1850s, the fur trade was a big business in the United States.

The history of the place

The post was in operation for approximately seven years, thriving with the South Platte River flowing nearby. This was the time in American history when Native Americans, mountain men, and traders gathered and worked together. They bartered their furs, traded supplies, and drank whiskey while telling their tales of life in the West. Louis Vasquez soon built a solid reputation as an experienced and trusted trader. His nickname was “Old Vaskiss.” Vasquez and his partner Sublette decided to sell the post in 1842. Unfortunately, it was abandoned later that year by the new owners.

In 1858, the Colorado Historical Society took over the property, and it became a museum open to the public. By 1932, only part of the exterior walls and the foundations remained. Starting in 1935, the Work Progress Administration rebuilt a portion of the post with existing bricks found at the location. In 1937, the new fort was officially dedicated with a ceremony that drew a crowd of approximately 2,000 people. It officially reopened as a museum in 1964.

Another major restoration was completed in 2005. The Adobe Museum provides guided tours for adults and children. There are several sections in the museum that feature artifacts and interesting relics that will take visitors back to the time of the fur traders. A beautiful life-size bison, sculpted by artist Stephen C. LeBlanc, is a major attraction on the grounds. The museum is currently under renovation and is under the management of History Colorado.

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