Wednesday, September 20, 2017


Post (c) Angela Raines

This post on Fort St. Vrain, is part of the series on Colorado's early Forts.

Image result for images of st vrain creek near platteville colorado
Colorado Dept. of Transportation Photo of SH 66 near Platteville
close to where Ft. St. Vrain would have have been located
Like Fort Vasquez in the earlier post, Fort St. Vrain was a business fort in use during the late 1830's to the 1840's. It was located about seven miles north of Fort Vasquez, on the right bank of the Platte River about one and a half miles north of the mouth of St. Vrain creek, for the business of trading with the Indians and Mountain Men who hunted the Rocky Mountains about twenty or so miles to the west. The closest date found for its construction may have been some time in 1837-38. The license to operate this and Bents fort came from William Clark, of the Lewis & Clark expedition in July of 1838, then govenor of the territory. 

Also known as Fort Lookout, and Fort George, Fort St. Vrain had the luck of being part of the Bent Fort family owned by Bent & St. Vrain Company. The company was started in 1830 by Wiliam Bent and Ceran St. Vrain. There original Fort, known as Bent's fort was located in Southeast Colorado on the Arkansas River.

The valley where the fort was established was special to the Arapahoes, and was frequently visited by the Cheyenne, Sioux with occasional visits by the Crow, Pawnee, Shoshone and Blackfeet.  This made the area prime real estate and Ft. St. Vrain did well until the decline in price for beaver skins in the 1830's.

During its heyday, Ft. St. Vrain saw a few, now famous people walk through the gates. J.C. Fremont, William Gilpin -first governor of Colorado, on July 4, 1843 along with Senator Benton celebrated Independence Day by firing off Fremont's howitzer and eating ice cream and cake while visiting the fort. The cake was one made by the senator's niece in St. Louis and the ice cream's milk was from goats and the freezing agent was snow from what is now known as Longs Peak.

By the summer of 1845 the fort was empty when Col. Stephen W. Kearney traveled through. 

The adobe fort continued its decline and there are no known photos of what the structure looked like. However from descriptions written by those who traveled through the area, it probably was similar to what we now see in the reconstruction of Bent's Old Fort.

Bents Old Fort -
For more, see: Fort St. Vrain

For additional information on the Bent & St. Vrain Company: Bent & St. Vrain

Doris Gardner-McCraw -author Angela Raines
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History

Angela Raines - author: Where Love & History Meet

For a list of Angela Raines Books: Here 

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