Near Sanford in Conejos County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)
Erected 1936 by the Colorado Historical Society. (Marker Number 43.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Exploration • Law EnforcementSettlements & Settlers. In addition, it is included in the Colorado - History Colorado, and the National Historic Landmarks series lists. A significant historical month for this entry is January 1807.
Location. 37° 17.631′ N, 105° 48.631′ W. Marker is near Sanford, Colorado, in Conejos County. Marker is on County Road 24, ¾ mile south of County Road Y, on the right when traveling east. From U.S. Highway 285 in south-central Colorado's San Luis Valley, approximately 19.25 miles north of the Colorado/New Mexico state line, turn east at the southern edge of the town of La Jara onto County Road W. Go east 3.95 miles to where Road W ends at a "T" on the northeast edge of Sanford. Turn left here onto 10th Street (County Road 20) and go north 2 miles. Turn right onto County Road Y and go east 3.95 miles to where Road Y ends at a "T". Stockade gate is on the south. Turn right through gate onto County Road 24 and go south for .25 miles, then east for .5 miles to stockade location. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Sanford CO 81151, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 13 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. "The Manassa Mauler" (approx. 10.8 miles away); Alamosa Depot (approx. 12.3 miles away); American National Bank BuildingEmperius Building (approx. 12.4 miles away); American Legion Building (approx. 12½ miles away); First Baptist Church (approx. 12½ miles away); All Aboard for Alamosa! (approx. 12½ miles away); Denver & Rio Grande Western Locomotive No. 169 (approx. 12½ miles away).
More about this marker. Pike's Stockade was designated as a National Historical Landmark on July 4, 1961.
Statement of Significance::
Zebulon Pike raised the American flag over Spanish soil at the stockade after leading the second official U.S. expedition into the Louisiana Territory in 1807. It was the first major expedition into the Southwest.
Regarding Pike's Stockade. Zebulon Pike was ordered by President Thomas Jefferson to follow the Arkansas River up to its headwaters, then head south to find the headwaters of the Red River and follow it downsteam back to Missouri. He was to establish good relations with the Indian tribes of the region and encourage them to trade with the U.S., and to explore the southern region of the Louisiana purchase. Many historians today believe that his main mission was secretly espionage: to gather as much information as he could about the Spanish territory and its strength. With 20 soldiers, a physician, and an interpreter, Pike set out July 15, 1806, from Fort Bellefontaine in Missouri. The soldiers brought only summer uniforms because Pike mistakenly believed they would encounter no cold weather. After spending some time with Indian tribes encountered along the way, they followed the Arkansas River upstream, arriving at
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker.
Also see . . .
1. Zebulon Pike and the Search for the Source of the Red River. (Submitted on September 24, 2009.)
2. Zebulon Pike. Wikipedia article (Submitted on September 24, 2009.)
3. Fort Garland Museum/Pike's Stockade. Colorado Historical Society (Submitted on September 24, 2009.)
1. Pike's Stockade
Elevation is 7,572 feet. There are restrooms at the site but it is not staffed. The gate is open 9 am-5 pm from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The site is sometimes closed due to flooding, so check with the Fort Garland Museum before visiting, and don't enter the site if the gate is closed. The site attracts fewer visitors than its historic importance warrants, and the property is subject to vandalism due to its isolation. Watch out for rattlesnakes in the tall grass. Mosquitos are abundant in the willow swamps on the banks of the Conejos River, so bring repellent. Birdwatchers like to come here to see the Southwest Willow Flycatcher.
— Submitted September 26, 2009.
Credits. This page was last revised on October 25, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 24, 2009. This page has been viewed 3,228 times since then and 111 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on September 25, 2009. 2, 3. submitted on September 24, 2009. 4. submitted on September 8, 2018, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. Wide area photo of marker and its surrounding. • Text and close-up photo of plaques located on monument in photo #2. • Can you help?