Tour of The Fort
The Fort's nine dining rooms are
built around a central courtyard. In summer months a typical
Plains Indian tipi stands in the courtyard.
Bent's Quarters, a private dining
room, recreates much of the feel of the 1840s. A collection
of medicinal herbs from New Mexico and various items of the fur trade
period line the shelves: knives, beads, buckles, musket caps, tobacco
twists and "segars", tea bricks, loaf sugar, Florida water, lucifers,
and much more.
The St. Vrain Bar, on the west side
of the courtyard, is named for Ceran St. Vrain, partner of the Bents. A
French aristocrat from St. Louis, he brought fine wines, crystal
glasses, and damask tablecloths to the remote West. Set in
a niche in the wall of the bar is an adobe brick from the original
Bent's Fort. The herringbone planed ceiling with its decorative
bead is typical of the earliest New Mexican planked ceilings.
The St. Vrain Council Room angles
off the St. Vrain bar and accommodates private parties and music
features artwork by Carrie Arnold and Edward Curtis, a corner fireplace,
and French doors out to the courtyard. After dark, the small
fire in the courtyard glows orange through the panes.
Adjoining the Tower Room is the East
Terrace, from which can be seen the magnificent panorama of red rocks
and Pike's Peak to the south and Denver and its suburbs to the east.
The Main Dining Room, with its fireplace
and view of the foothills and lights of Denver and the plains beyond,
features a beamed ceiling, artwork, and authentic mid-nineteenth-century
artifacts. Throughout the building, the vigas (log beam) were
stripped by drawknife, and zapatas (footed supports) were rough cut
and then finished with a foot adz. All wood surfaces were hand-planed
to remove machine saw marks.
Overlooking the Main Dining Room,
The Grill is lovely for semi-private parties, with French doors out
to the garden and a view of the Denver skyline. The fountain
to the north is carved of pink Mexican limestone.
Two round bastions stand at the northeast
and southwest corners of The Fort. With their two-feet-thick
adobe walls, these were used for defense in the original fort. We
use the northeast bastion as a wine cellar, while the southwest tower
accommodates an intimate dining room with a fireplace and a lovely
view of the city lights. The Tower Room is furnished with portraits
of mountain men, William and Charles Bent, Uncle Dick Wootton, Kit
Carson, and Henry Clay.
The Outdoor Patio is delightful during
warm weather and a good place to gather when the cannon are shot. What
would a fort be without a cannon?