Latham to LaPorte via Denver

Along the Overland Trail

Latham, the last station on the South Platte, was built in 1862 at the mouth of the Cache la Poudre River. If one traveled straight west to the stage station at LaPorte, it was a trip of some 35 miles, with no stations in between. A rooming house was built in about 1872 just west of the present town of Windsor. Main Street in Windsor was built right on top of the Overland Trail.

Until Ben Holladay established the "Fort Morgan Cutoff," the trail pretty much followed the South Platte River to Cherry Creek, just to the north west of Denver where gold was discovered in 1858.

BIG BEND Traveling south west from Latham and following the South Platte River for about 15 miles, the site of the Big Bend Station is reached. Nothing remains of this station.

There were at least three forts established in this general area along the South Platte by the early explorers and fur traders: Fort St. Vrain, Fort Vasquez, and Fort Lupton.

FORT LUPTON The next stage station 17 miles along the Overland Trail from the Big Bend Station was located at Fort Lupton. Ben Holladay listed one horse valued at $250.00 as a loss at the Fort Lupton station between July 1864 to February 1865, according to testimony before the Committee on Claims in 1880. A marker on private property marks the station site.

PIERSON'S The Pierson's Station was reached after traveling 15 more miles. It is located about 3 miles south of the present town of Brighton, and about 1/2 mile to the west of US Highway 85. A marker is located on private ranch property. It is possible that one of the ranch barns may have been an Overland building.

The Overland Trail continues another 14 miles before it reaches the Denver Stage Station. It was mainly because of the five thousand or so settlers in Denver wanting "regular" mail delivery, that Ben Holladay established the Overland Trail through Colorado.

CHURCH'S The Church's Station, also known as the Child's Station is reported to have been a twenty-room house on the south bank of Dry Creek, located about three miles south of the present day town of Broomfield in the housing development of Wallace Village. It was located 11 miles north of the Denver Station.

BOONE'S Twelve miles north of Childs was the Boone's Station. It was located on Boulder Creek. Very little information is available regarding this station.

ST. VRAIN The St. Vrain Station, also known as "Burglington" or "Half -Way House," was located about one-half mile south of the present downtown section of Longmont on the west side of US 287. Alonzo N. Allen was one of the first settlers in this area, building a log cabin in 1860. The Overland Stage Line contracted with Allen to build a hotel at the farm with two large double bedrooms and a dining room to serve as a stage station. At times guests were obliged to sleep on the dining room floor, covered with buffalo robes. This became such a popular stop that Allen was forced to build a second floor onto the building, adding four more bedrooms. The station buildings no longer remain. A marker is at the site.

LITTLE THOMPSON The Little Thompson Station, a "home station," is just south of the present day town of Berthoud in the shadow of Long's Peak. This station, 18 miles north of Boone Station, is the southern most station in Larimer County. Many diaries tell of the large cottonwood trees located along the Big Thompson River and the grand view of the snow covered Rockies to the west. In 1877 the station's name was changed to Berthoud, in honor of the chief engineer of the Colorado Central Railroad who laid out and established the line for the railroad. Nothing remains of the station today.

NAMAQUA The Namaqua Station, was more sometimes known as the Big Thompson Station. This station was located on the old Cherokee Trail, used by trappers who also called it "Bridger's Road." The crossing of the Big Thompson was sometimes called "Mariano's Crossing," after Mariano Medina, who claimed to be the first permanent settler on the Big Thompson Creek. The station was actually located at Medina's "Fort Namaqua." The original buildings remained intact until 1936 when a fire destroyed them. The barn, built by the Overland Mail Express, remained in use until as a stable until the mid-1950's. In 1864, Ben Holladay moved the route to the east, stopping at Washburn's Crossing three miles downstream from Namaqua. Stages and wagons continued to travel the old Cherokee Trail, stopping at Namaqua often until the railroad made its appearance in 1877.

SPRING CREEK The Spring Creek Station was located 14 miles past Namaqua on the old Cherokee Trail, northeast of the mouth of Spring Creek, and in the southwest section of the present city of Fort Collins. This was a "swing station" and only in existance for about two years.

SHERWOOD The Sherwood Station, on the alternative route, was originally a ranch established in about 1860 by Frederick Sherwood and his brother Jesse. It was located on the south banks of the Cache la Poudre River about 12 miles downstream from LaPorte, and was known far and wide for its warm welcome and generous hospitality. After the city of Fort Collins was established in 1864, the Sherwood Station was no longer used as a stop for the Overland Stage.

LaPorte--one of the few Stage Stations along the trail that has developed into a thriving community.

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