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Fort Lupton Colorado Townsite - Ghost town
Photos courtesy of Joan and Mike Sinnwell January 2012
The Fort Lupton recreation is a tribute to The South Platte Valley Historical Society, a group of dedicated individuals, High school students, college students and many volunteers. It also is a tribute to what individuals can accomplish without public funds. The fort, as promised, was privately funded.
Sometimes you just have to chip in even if it is only on a few occasions. I was fortunate enough to be accepted as a volunteer to help recreate this fur trading post. Yes I peeled logs, yes I helped with the roof in the great hall, yes I put up latias, Yes I helped hang the 500 lb gates, yes I did whatever I was told. The work I am most proud of is the second floor in the tower. I talked some experienced carpenters from Minnesota into helping on their vacation. They also did the front doors to the fort. When we left I was told, “ Wood Products Specialties from Wanda Minnesota accomplished more in one day than we could ever imagine. Their work certainly helped in being ready for the Grand Opening. THANKS.” So if you want some high quality custom cabinets built give them a call.
Some History - Lt. Lancaster Lupton and his crew planned and built a Colorado fur trading post called Fort Lancaster in less than two years. Recreating his 1836 adobe fort has taken 23.
Rebuilding the fort was the motivation for the formation of the South Platte Valley Historical Society in 1988. Its members raised funds to purchase the original fort site, but were seven years too late to save the final wall from demolition by workers erecting gas and oil drilling rigs on the site.
Only a wagonload of the original adobe bricks was salvaged, stored under a tarp in the public works shop in Fort Lupton, the city of 7,500 that bears the name of the original fort builder.
Restoration of two mid-1800’s buildings, a one room school and a farmhouse, diverted the group’s focus until Arnie Hubert, a retiree transplanted to Fort Lupton, said he would lead the endeavor.
Without money to complete the work, but aware that belief the project would ever come to fruition was fading, the SPVHS broke ground for the new fort, a few yards south of the original, on October 23, 2004.
Hubert and the SPVHS members decided the new fort was to have walls of stucco, not adobe, erected on building-code sanctioned foundations. Its configuration, 40 X 60 paces (128 X 150 feet) would mirror the original, and it was to be a living history fort, as authentic possible, and built without government funds.
Six years, 23,000 volunteer hours and $220,000 later, the fort is nearly done. Over 5,000 logs from the mountains and some local backyards were peeled by hand for vigas. Supplier’s donations kept the cost to half of what the structure would have cost without their help, and as promised, the fort was privately funded.
Link to South Platte Valley Historical Society -- http://www.spvhs.org/index.html
Link to the reconstruction of Fort Lupton. -- http://www.spvhs.org/fortluptonreconstruction.html
Please feel free to make donations or come and volunteer to continue the work. Just show up on a Wednesday and/or a Saturday at 8:00 AM and John will get you started. If you like Rendezvous this is the place to go.
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