Trip Planner:   USA  /  Colorado  /  Fort Garland  /  Museums  /  Fort Garland Museum

Fort Garland Museum, Fort Garland

(50+ reviews on the web)
Specialty Museum
Western expansion fueled the need for frontier forts. The primary purpose of these forts was to keep the peace between settlers and indigenous people.

In 1852 the U.S. government saw the need for a military presence in the San Luis Valley and built Fort Massachusetts, the area's first stronghold. It soon became clear that the location of Fort Massachusetts was not strategically practical. It was vulnerable to attack from higher ground and it was too far from the settlers it was intended to protect. Brig. Gen. John Garland issued orders for a new post to be built 6 miles south between Ute and Sangre de Cristo creeks.

The fort is built of adobe or mud bricks, the local building material at the time. Exterior walls were plastered with mud, interior walls were plastered with mud and lime. Soldiers and local adobe skilled laborers built the fort under the direction of Charles Autobees. The flat roofs were constructed using large log beams called vigas andwith wood planks on top and then covered with dirt. It was completed in June of 1858, the flag was lowered at Ft. Massachusetts and Capt. Duncan marched his men to the new site where the flag was hoisted to the top of the new flagpole.

In 1861, Colorado Volunteers were training at Fort Garland. In March of 1862, they trekked through harsh winter conditions to join the New Mexico Volunteers, and the combined forces met the Confederates at the Battle of Glorieta Pass. The Union soldiers thwarted General Sibley's efforts to bring the Civil War to the far West.

After the Civil War, from 1866 to 1867, Christopher "Kit" Carson commanded the New Mexico Volunteers at Fort Garland. Drawing on his knowledge of American Indian languages and culture, he aided Chief Ouray and other Ute leaders in teh negotiations that created a Ute Reservation.

African-American cavalry men, the famed "Buffalo Soldiers" distinguished themselves at Fort Garland between 1876 and 1879.

Fort Garland was in use for 25 years, a long time for a frontier fort. The coming of the railroad and the removal of American Indians brought Fort Garland's 25 years of service to an end in 1883.

Five of the twenty-two original buildings at Fort Garland are still standing. Since the 1990s archaeological research has been carried out at the fort to determine the footprints of the original buildings.

The museum today is run by History Colorado.

Summer Hours:

March-November

Monday-Sunday

9am- 5pm

Winter Hours:

November 1st-March 1st

Open Wednesday-Sunday.

10am - 4pm

Closed Monday and Tuesday.

Closed: January and February.

A regional museum of History Colorado.
Fort Garland Museum is just one of the many highlights you can arrange to see using our international travel planner, Fort Garland Edition.
Source
Create a full Fort Garland itinerary
map

Plan your trip to Fort Garland

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Plans in Colorado by other users

5 days in Colorado BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, outdoors, romantic, popular PREFERENCES: July, outdoors, romantic ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 10 days in Colorado BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, popular PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in Colorado BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, outdoors, relaxing, slow & easy, popular PREFERENCES: July, outdoors, relaxing ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Slow & easy 22 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, slow & easy, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Slow & easy 4 days in Denver BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: September, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 22 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 8 days in Colorado BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, popular PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Estes Park BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: August, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Estes Park BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, kids, outdoors, relaxing, popular PREFERENCES: August, kids, outdoors, relaxing ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in Colorado BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, teens, hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, teens ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 14 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 3 days in Boulder BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, popular PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
View more plans
Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Nice break in our 3 hour drive to Hooper, Colorado. Enjoyed walking the fort and walking into the different rooms as they were in 1858-83, only 25 years in use.  more »
  • This fort has many original buildings and artifacts from its days as a Union fort. A short video in the theater starts your self guided tour and gives you an overview of what you will see and experien...  more »
  • Worth stopping to see if you are a history buff. Tour is self-guided and only takes an hour at the most. Well preserved and displays are explained in just enough detail.  more »
Google
  • This is a very important fort in the story of westward expansionism. Many original adobe buildings chock full of artifacts. This was an important union fort in the civil war. In 1858 it was the middle of nowhere...still is. The gift shop has local jams and jellies native American crafts and a bookstore to satisfy any western bibliophile. If you are a Ghostbusters you are in for a real treat!
  • Really clean, nice museum
  • Love it! very much historical value and an all around awesome place.