The 1911-2011 Centennial
The Fort Lewis School of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts established in 1911 was a vocational high school that taught young men how to make money from a farm.
The Fort Lewis School of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts established in 1911 was a vocational high school that taught young men how to make money from a farm. 

This year marks Fort Lewis College's third Centennial celebration. The first, in 1978, recalled the 100th  anniversary of the establishment of the Fort Lewis army post in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, in 1878. This post moved to Hesperus two years later. The second, in 1991, commemorated Fort Lewis’ educational beginnings in 1891 as a federal Indian boarding school on the Hesperus site.
This year's Centennial commemorates the State of Colorado’s acceptance of a federal land grant of the Hesperus site to establish an agricultural and mechanic arts high school via legislation signed January 25, 1911.  That grant came with two conditions: that the land would be used for an educational institution, and that Indian students admitted to that institution could attend tuition free.   The school opened on October 2, 1911 and reported a first-term enrollment of 19 pupils.

Learn More

  • Duane A. Smith. Rich Heritage, Shining Future. Durango: Fort Lewis College, 2010.
  • Duane A. Smith. Sacred Trust: The Birth and Development of Fort Lewis College. Niwot: University Press of Colorado, 1991.
  • Robert W. Delaney. Blue Coats, Red Skins, & Black Gowns: 100 Years of Fort Lewis. Durango: Durango Herald, 1977.
  • Center of Southwest Studies. “Fort Lewis College: A Brief Chronology.” http://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/FLC_Guide/Fort_Lewis_Chronology.htm
  • Beth LaShell. “The Old Fort.’” http://oldfort.fortlewis.edu