The Old Fort
Dean Ernest H. Bader
Vocational School Students
The vocational education program began in 1938 for students that had not completed high school and were from the age of 18 to 25. In later years those students that had completed high school could take a maximum of 12 hours of work for college credit.
Excerpt from 1939 Colorado State College Bulletin:
The National Youth Administration and the State Board for Vocational Education cooperated with the State Board of Agriculture to make vocational training available at the Fort Lewis Branch of the Colorado State College.
Purpose- This work is organized for making it possible for young men of limited finances, who are interested in agriculture and farm building to receive practical training for their work.
Training- It is believed that the most effective learning is "learning by doing." It was with this in mind that the requirement was made that each boy perform every job that needs to be performed on a modern farm a sufficient number of times to become proficient in doing that job. Further more, as far as possible, the scientific principles involved are discussed at the time the job is performed.
Upon enrolling, students are given tests in English, Arithmetic, Science, Reading and Social Science, and part of the classroom program is planned for the purpose of removing any deficiencies which are found on the part of any student. This instruction is limited to those fundamentals which it is believed are essential for living in a democracy and to efficient service in the vocation chosen.
Another very valuable phase of the training program is the work for pay. This work embraces every phase involved in the construction of a building. An experienced builder is in charge and time is devoted to studying the problems that arise in the building work which is being done.
Excerpt from the 1940 Colorado State College Bulletin
The National Youth Administration and the State Board for Vocational Education are cooperating with the State Board of Agriculture in making vocational training available at the Fort Lewis Branch of the Colorado State College.
Purpose.-This work is organized for young men of limited finances, who are interested in agriculture and farm building construction, and for young women interested in homemaking training.
TRAINING FOR MEN
Training in Building Construction.-Under the guidance of an experienced carpenter the vocational students have constructed a 32'xl9O'dormitory. This building will house fifty vocational students. About thirty are living in it at the present time. In addition to training in construction skills this project is a laboratory in which much valuable information is gained regarding low-cost farm structures. Other construction work is planned for the future.
Training in Agriculture.-Approximately one half of the student's time is devoted to training in agriculture and related subjects. The related training consists of classes in practical English, science, arithmetic, and citizenship. The work in agriculture is made more practical by a program of cooperative farming. The profits from this activity, which consists in growing crops and breeding and fattening livestock, are divided annually among the students in proportion to the number of hours each has worked
The students are paid from funds appropriated by Congress to the National Youth Administration. The Fort Lewis College sponsors the project and furnishes supervision and instruction. Each youth is paid thirty dollars a month, from which his board and lodging which cannot exceed twenty-two dollars, is deducted. If the student avails himself of the social and athletic activities of the college he has additional charges to pay.
Who may enroll.
-Enrollment is open to young men between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five. In order to enroll, a written application must be made on forms which will be furnished upon request.
It is not necessary for applicants to be graduated from high school. Training varies to meet the individual's background of school and other experience. Those who are high-school graduates may take a maximum of five hours of work for credit by paying the necessary fees.
Periods.- Students may enroll anytime from May to September or during the month of January. It is advantageous to enroll for at least one year.
Bedding and Clothing.-
Students must furnish their own work and dress clothes and bedding above the mattress.
TRAINING FOR WOMEN
Homemaking.-Requirements for admission in the vocational homemaking project for girls are similar to those for vocational boys; namely, a girl who has reached the age of eighteen and is under twenty-five may enroll.
Training is given through work projects and class instruction. The work projects give training in cooking, sewing, housekeeping, laundering, canning and care of dairy products,
Class instruction is offered in grooming, art in the home, sewing, cookery, housekeeping accounts, family relationships, buying, home furnishing, child care, home care of the sick, and personality development.
The 1947-48 Fort Lewis Catalogue shows that Vocational Training was no longer offered. It was most likely replaced by the Veterans Institutional On-the Farm Program after the War.
There are records of animals and vegetable gardens on the "old Fort" property back to the 1880s. In 1893 C.C. Duncan, United States Indian Inspector, reported that 65 acres was being cultivated by the school. During the year it produced 18 tons of oat hay, 17,350 pounds of potatoes, 200 pounds of turnips, 2973 pounds of onions, 240 pounds of beans and 2700 pounds of other vegetables. The school also owned 7 horses, 4 swine, and 36 domestic fowl.
Farm Women's Vacation Camp
From June 16-18, 1946 the 5th Annual Farm Women's Vacation Camp was held at Fort Lewis College for 35 women and the home demonstration agents of LaPlata and Montezuma counties.