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Looking for John Wayne style Western fort

Hofheim Germany
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Looking for John Wayne style Western fort

I hope someone can help. I am flying from Frankfurt to Denver with my German partner and our 10yr daughter for the first time to Denver in July 2007. We have 3 weeks. I am on the hook to find a Western Fort to visit. Yes, just like the ones in old western films. All political correctness to the side this Fort must fit the cowboy & Indians childhood image. Is there such a place? I have seen historical sites but they are usually open space with a few remaining buildings. I think outside walls with towers are a must. I have explained that they were not built like the German castles but I could score some big plus points if I could find one for our itinerary. Is there anyone who has been to or knows of such a place?

Williamsburg...
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1. Re: Looking for John Wayne style Western fort

It's a ways from Denver, but take a look at Bent's Old Fort. Here's a web address: http://www.nps.gov/beol/

Bend, Oregon
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2. Re: Looking for John Wayne style Western fort

As the previous writer said, Bent's Old Fort is probably your best choice. While most tourists don't go to southeast Colorado, you could have a fun two day trip from Denver and learn a lot about Colorado history on the way. South of Denver in the city of Pueblo, is the El Pueblo History Museum. This museum is on the site of an old trading post. After that, make a visit to the Rosemount Museum which is a 37-room mansion built in 1893 (which is old in Colorado). Heading east on Highway 50, you will reach La Junta where you should spend the night. In La Junta is the well known Koshare Indian Museum. An easy drive from La Junta is Bent's Old Fort which is a restored trading fort that often has people dressed in costume reinacting life in a western fort. But, you won't find Cowboys & Indians like in the movies except in the movies, I'm afraid. Hollywood did a great job of romancing the difficult and dangerous life of settling the Western United States and the conflicts with Indian tribes. All the same, you can have a terrific time learning about the real settlement of the West on your trip to Colorado.

Hofheim Germany
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3. Re: Looking for John Wayne style Western fort

Thank you Imagist & Zoey1996 for taking the time to answer in such detail. The A 2 day trip from Denver fits in to our plans well. The info on the museums along the way is very cool indeed.

Glenwood Springs...
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4. Re: Looking for John Wayne style Western fort

This site doesn't have any info on old forts, but you might find some of the info interesting.

http://www.9news.com/bridge/exploreco/

Fort Mohave, ARIZONA
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5. Re: Looking for John Wayne style Western fort

Please, try the Fort on the island at Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California!

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
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6. Re: Looking for John Wayne style Western fort

Disneyland closed the fort on Tom Sawyers island and they are tearing it down!

Bent's Fort in Colorado.

Golden, Colorado
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7. Re: Looking for John Wayne style Western fort

Here is a better photo of Bent's fort http://www.sangres.com/np/bents.htm

There is also Fort Laramie northeast of Denver, but alas, there are no walls. http://www.nps.gov/fola

Also, when in Denver, The Fort Restaurant is styled after Bents Fort, and has wild game items on the menu. http://www.thefort.com/index.htm

Sarasota, Florida
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8. Re: Looking for John Wayne style Western fort

Another great fort is Fort Garland, west of Walsenburg on US 160.

Golden, Colorado
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9. Re: Looking for John Wayne style Western fort

I'd forgotten about Fort Garland. Here is a list of old forts in Colorado. I didn't finish reading through the whole thing, and some appear to be primarily museums.

http://colorado.com/article211

Albuquerque, New...
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10. Re: Looking for John Wayne style Western fort

Bent's "Old" Fort National Monument (or "Historic Site") near La Junta, Colorado. (There was a newer fort built after the original of this one.)

This wonderful facility built in the 1970's by the National Park Service, is an exact replica of the 1830's original. The Bent brothers' original fortress, with high & thick walls, was built beside the Arkansas River, on the famous Santa Fe Trail. For many years in the early days of the trail, it was the only "anglo-American" settlement in the hundreds-of-miles between Missouri and Santa Fe, on the so-called "Mountain Route" (up the Arkansas River, and through Raton Pass on the NM/CO border). It served as both a trading post to the Native Americans of the Western Great Plains, and also as a place for provisions for SFT travelers, and the colorful Mountain Men who trapped the headwaters of the Arkansas River in Colorado.

George Bent was married to a Southern Cheyenne woman, and that allowed the fort to maintain good relations with that tribe at least. This was a "fortified" yet civilian edifice, complete with watchtowers, canon, etc.

If you love American Western History, you will love Bent's Fort.

The Bents Fort NPS website will provide you with an excellent "floorplan" of the interior. The staff of rangers are usually in costume for the period, and eager to answer questions. (They don't get the numbers of tourists other NPS places in Colorado do, because it is relatively isolated. So, they are eager to see visitors!) :-)

Enjoy your visit to Colorado, and especially to this very special historical site. I'm a Santa Fe Trail devotee, so I've enjoyed each of my four visits there. I always discover something new, that I've missed before.