Top of the Marker:The Soldier's LifeFort Garland housed infantry and cavalry units. During the 1870's the famed Buffalo Soldiers—African-American cavalrymen—were also posted here. For all soldiers—and their families—life at Fort Garland was often dull, sometimes dangerous, but never easy. A civilian who visited the post remarked that despite its remoteness "frontier life suggests a poetic expansiveness, but to the soldier it usually involves a career of humdrum routine.
To protect the valley's Hispanic settlers against Indian attacks, the U.S. Army established Fort Massachusetts in 1852 near Blanca Peak, which towers just north of here. But the fort was too remote to be effective, so in 1858 the Army put up a new post — Fort Garland — a portion of which you see immediately across the road. Built largely of adobe, the new fort stood guard over the San Luis Valley and its people until abandoned in 1883. The Colorado Historical Society invites you to visit Fort Garland, which has been preserved as a museum.