If you have driven on Highway 85 in Weld County, you have no doubt passed the ‘Fort in the middle of the road’. Fort Vasquez, one of four fur trading forts built in Weld County in the early 1800s, is located just south of Platteville between the south bound and north bound lanes of the highway. But while the town and the transportation corridor grew in around the historic site, the Fort stands as a proud historic reminder of life in the Wild West.
The first licensed business in Weld County, according to Fort Vasquez Museum Operations Coordinator Bill Crowley, the Fort facilitated the trade of buffalo robes from Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians for beads, kettles, knives and other items. Those robes, along with furs from ‘mountain men,’ were then taken to St. Louis, MO.
Built under the direction of Louis Vasquez and Andrew Sublette in 1835, the fort was abandoned in 1842.
“A century later, the Platteville community spearheaded an effort to reconstruct the adobe outpost with assistance from Weld County and the federal Works Progress Administration,” according to History Colorado. “In 1958, title to the property was transferred to History Colorado (then the Colorado Historical Society).”
The Fort is located at 13412 U. S. Highway 85, Platteville, CO 80651 (35 miles north of downtown Denver). To learn more about the Fort, please visit: www.historycolorado.org/museums/fort-vasquez-museum