Big History, Small Fort, Little Town at the Foothills of the Rockies

After the snowstorm - San Luis Valley

The town of Ft Garland sits in the San Luis Valley at the south end of the Sangre de Cristo Range in the Rockies with a beautiful view of Blanca Peak and Mt Lindsey. The town consist of approximately 400 residents and is the home to Ft Garland Museum. The Fort was established in 1858 with the purpose of protecting the early settlers of the San Luis Valley. The Fort took the place of the area’s first fort, Ft Massachusetts which dissolved once it was clear the location was not suitable for its purpose.

Gift shopBookstore 1

When we arrived we quickly passed through the gift shop, since shopping is not my thing. But not too quick to notice the structure of the building with the thick wooden beams supporting the roof. Lucky for me, they continued onto the next room which was the bookstore. We lingered there while enjoying the décor of the era and the many books about the west. We engaged in great conversation with others resting before their self-guided tour as I spotted a few books that I was interested in and was sure I would swing back by on our way out long enough to make a small purchase.

Each building was adobe. Adobe buildings are not a new concept to me but they do fascinate me how simple they are yet how they hold up against the elements. Of course, these buildings have been tenderly and carefully cared for and the museum dedicates an entire section of the tour to how much effort it took to bring the structures back to life and maintain them to keep the history of the Fort available to the public.  

Entrance to Kit Carson's family's living quarters

As we walked through the cold buildings, we moved at our own pace and read about the many that were stationed at the Fort during the active period. Including walking through Kit Carson’s family living quarters. Inside is information and pictures of each family member along with Kit Carson’s military history and a few of his acquaintances such as John C Fremont, which done some exploring of the area.

It was a cool day in the high desert and enjoyable walk through history. I did bring those 2 books home with me and find each one extremely interesting. The first book is: Wild West Women, Fifty Lives That Shaped the Frontier. The title explains itself and its been enjoyable to have 50 short reads filled with so much information.

I also brought home Vanished Arizona, a true story of a New England woman that married an army officer and accompanied him throughout the west during the post-civil war days. She shares their adventures, her learnings along with her fears. I enjoy this book very much as she traveled through areas of Arizona that I am familiar with but she made the journey in an army wagon pulled by horses and mules on roads that I know, before they existed.

Grounds 2

It was a great, peaceful visit to Ft Garland this day and I brought quite a bit of history home with me.


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