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Colorado Forts - Page 2

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Fort Logan, ColoradoFort Logan (1887-1946) - Although at the time Fort Logan was established, the government was closing down many of the military posts on the frontier, the citizens of Denver were apprehensive of the increased immigration through the area and their relative isolation. Petitioning the government for a military presence, General Philip Sheridan selected a site for the fort, located about nine miles south of Denver's Union Station. The first soldiers arrived from Forts Hays and Leavenworth, Kansas in October, 1887 and began to build. Temporary barracks and a guardhouse were completed by the end of the year and the next year, plans were made for more permanent buildings. Construction began on permanent buildings in July, 1888 which included officers' quarters, a headquarters building, hospital, arracks, stables and warehouses all surrounding a 32-acre parade ground.

 

The post was called "the camp near the city of Denver," but most locals referred to it as "Fort Sheridan." the post was officially named "Fort Logan" in 1889, in honor of General John Alexander Logan, who had served in the Civil War.

 

That same year, Colonel Henry C. Merriam came from Fort Laramie, Wyoming to become the commanding officer, and five companies of the famed 7th Infantry came with him. Troops from Fort Logan were dispatched to South Dakota in December 1890 to assist in controlling a feared "Sioux uprising." However, assigned to the northern part of part of the state, they did not take part in the fighting which culminated with the Wounded Knee Massacre.

 

In 1898, most of the Fort Logan troops were sent to Cuba to fight in the Spanish-American War. In 1909, the number of soldiers at the fort was dramatically reduced and in became mostly a recruiting station. Over the next two decades, with such limited staff, the large post fell into disrepair to such an extent, that many locals called it "Fort Forgotten." This began to change in 1927, when it was re-garrisoned, and in 1940, it became a sub-post of Lowry Field in east Denver. It then became a training facility for the Army Air Corps and the inactive medical facilities began to be used once again. The post was finally deactivated in May, 1946 and turned over to the Veterans Administration. In 1959, 214 acres on the western edge were utilized to create the fort Logan National Cemetery.

 

The Veterans Administration moved to a new location in 1951 and afterwards, many of the buildings were leased out. In 1960, 308 acres were deeded to the State of Colorado to establish a state hospital, which became the Fort Logan Mental Health Center. Though a number of new buildings were erected, many historic buildings continued to be used. The name was changed in 1991 to the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Fort Logan. Today, the 232 acre site includes the hospital as well as offices for several other state agencies. The site is located at 3520 West Oxford Avenue in Denver.

 

 

Fort Lyon (1860-1867) - First established as Fort Wise just west of Bent's New Fort, it was built in 1860. See Full Article HERE.

 

 

 

 

Fort MassachusettsFort Massachusetts (1852-1858) - Officially established on June 22, 1852, this military post was built on the west bank of Ute Creek at the base of Mount Blanca in the San Luis Valley of southern Colorado. Its objective was to protect travelers and settlers in the area from Indian attacks. The first permanent settlement in the state, the fort was described in 1853 as: "a well-built stockade of pine logs, ten feet in height, and enclosing very comfortable quarters for one hundred and fifty men." Though the Ute Indians had signed a peace treaty in 1849, as more and more settlers moved into the area, the whites brought with them diseases, encroached upon the Indians' land, and depleted the wild game, making hunting difficult. As a result, the angry Indians raided settlers and villages for food. The troops at Fort Massachusetts were tasked with stopping the raids with a small garrison of soldiers. The post also provided a headquarters for Indian agents.

 

In 1854, conflicts between the Indians and settlers reached a peak in what is known as the Fort Pueblo Massacre. Fort Pueblo was a trading post located in present-day Pueblo, Colorado. During a celebration at the fort, the traders let in a group of Indians who they thought were friendly. However, the Indians attacked, killing 15 men and kidnapping a woman and two boys. The soldiers at Fort Massachusetts were fortified with troops from Fort Union, New Mexico to permanently subdue the Indians, who were eventually forced to cede their lands in the San Luis Valley. 

 

In 1858, the Government, concluding that that the swampy location of Fort Massachusetts had been a poor selection and a new fort, called Fort Garland, was built some six miles to the south. The troops were moved to Fort Garland and Fort Massachusetts was abandoned.

 

Sand Creek MassacreFort Morgan (1864-1868) – The post was established in 1864 to protect the mail service and immigrants along the Overland Trail. During this time, the Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians were committing a number of raids in the area in response to white settlers encroaching upon their hunting grounds and in revenge for the Sand Creek Massacre. Located on a plateau called "Morgan Flats” about ½ mile from the South Platte River, the site was chosen for its commanding view of the entire river valley. Initially construction of the post was began by Colorado Volunteers under the leadership of General Sam Brown, and was first called Camp Tyler.

 

The really heavy work; however, was completed by "Galvanized Yankees" under the command of a Captain Williams. These troops were confederate soldiers released from prison under the condition that they join the union army and move west to fight the Indians. At that time, the post’s name was changed to Camp Wardwell.

 

When the fort buildings were complete, a detachment of Federal soldiers from the Missouri Cavalry under Lieutenant Colonel Willard Smith were garrisoned at the post, which was finally christened "Fort Morgan" in honor of Colonel Christopher A. Morgan. The post was about the size of one square city block and included about 20 sod and adobe buildings surrounding a parade ground. Staffed with up to 1,200 soldiers, it was the only army presence between Julesburg, Colorado to the east and the populated regions of the Rocky Mountains to the west, it was the largest organized armed presence for miles.

 

Immediately, the presence of the troops acted as a deterrent to the Indian raids in the area and offered protection to travelers along the "Fort Morgan Cut Off" of the Overland Trail. Within just a few short years, the Union pacific Railroad completed its line from North Platte, Nebraska to Cheyenne, Wyoming, and most of the Indian raids had been subdued. In 1868, the troops were moved to Fort Laramie, Wyoming and the fort was decommissioned. The buildings were then sold at auction.

Today, there are no remains of the fort. The site is located in the city of Fort Morgan at approximately the same location as a Municipal Skate Park and Tennis Courts on Railroad Avenue.

 

 

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