Fort Garland is important for its association with the settlement of the San Luis Valley and southern Colorado. Built in 1858, the fort served as a base of military operations until it was abandoned in 1883.
Company G of the Ninth Cavalry, a unit of Buffalo Soldiers, operated out of the fort from the spring of 1876 until September 1879. The Buffalo Soldiers were African American troopers who received their nickname from Southern Plains Indians who perceived similarities between the soldiers’ curly black hair and the matted fur between the horns of the buffalo. The Buffalo Soldiers saw scant military action through their brief assignment at Fort Garland. In 1876, troops marched to the La Plata region to prevent conflict between Ute Indians and white prospectors. History Colorado operates Fort Garland as one of its regional museums.