A cultural resource inventory of 247 acres surrounding and including the Old Fort Lewis Complex near Hesperus, Colorado, was undertaken by the Anthropology Department at Fort Lewis College. The archaeological inventory was but one component of a larger State Historical Fund grant awarded to the Office of Community Services, at Fort Lewis College.


  • To establish a multi-year program to protect the historic and archaeological resources at the Old Fort Complex while accommodating the existing use of the facility.
  • The assessment and preservation plan include a historic buildings survey of standing architecture and a structure conditions assessment of the buildings.


As a result of the cultural resource inventory,

  • 21 newly recorded archaeological sites were identified
  • 14 isolated finds were recorded
  • One single site 5LP1968 was reevaluated
  • One prehistoric site was recorded and the remaining sites are historic

The dominant historic site type has general artifact scatters. The sites are related to the use of Fort Lewis from its incipient occupation in 1881 as a military outpost through its tenure as a junior college until the college moved to its present location in Durango in 1956.

The 21 newly recorded sites are recommended as contributing to a potential historic district under Criterion A of the National Register of Historic Places. Each site is also evaluated individually for potential nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. The 14 isolated finds are not recommended as eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic places.

The Old Fort Lewis Complex, which includes both the educational and military facilities, is assigned one site number-Smithsonian number 5LP1968. Twenty-eight features were recorded within the Complex. These include building foundations, side-walks, artifact scatters, ski-lift, skating pond, rodeo grounds, entrance gates, and a retaining wall.

Complete Archeological Survey report.