Human and Cultural History of The St. Vrain
Humans have inhabited Colorado’s Front Range for thousands of years. Actually, one of the oldest archaeological sites in Colorado is in Weld County, near the town of Milliken, which the St. Vrain flows past. Stone Clovis points and mammoth bones between 11,000 and 12,000 years old were found here in the 1930’s, providing some of the earliest evidence of mammoth hunting in North America.
More recently, the Front Range has been a crossroads for many tribes, including the Ute people, the Apache, Comanche, Cheyenne, and Arapaho.
The St. Vrain River is named for Ceran St. Vrain, a fur trader of French descent who helped establish the Old Fort St. Vrain around 1837. The fort was situated on the east side of the South Platte River in Platteville, just north of the St. Vrain Creek, and functioned as a key trade center and stopover for wayfarers on the historic Santa Fe Trail. Trade with and between the Cheyenne, Arapaho, Ute, Sioux, and Shoshone peoples was a key activity at the fort. Buffalo hides traded from Plains peoples were one of the most sought-after items.