Fort Logan is located in Denver County near the southwest boundary of the City of Denver. By the 1880s, with the removal of much of the Native American population to reservations, the federal government had begun to close many frontier forts. The rapid growth of the railroad had made it easier for the Army to quickly move troops to where they were needed. The frontier posts that had played such an important role in the development of the West became increasingly obsolete and expensive to maintain. Still, the citizenry of Denver, in relative isolation and apprehensive concerning increased immigration from the East and abroad, petitioned the Army to establish a post near the city. In 1886, Colorado Sen. Henry M. Teller introduced a bill in Congress authorizing construction of the post, and it was signed in February 1887. A little over three acres was set aside in 1889 for a post cemetery. The first recorded burial in the post cemetery was Mable Peterkin, daughter of Private Peterkin, who died on June 28, 1889.
The first soldiers to arrive at the fort were members of the 18th Infantry from Fort Hays and Leavenworth, Kan., who immediately set up a temporary barracks and guardhouse while construction began on permanent facilities. The name of the fort, originally known as “the camp near the city of Denver,” became Fort Logan in August 1889. General John A. Logan had risen to the rank of Union Army general and commander of volunteer forces during the Civil War. As head of the post-war veteran’s organization the Grand Army of the Republic, he issued General Orders No. 11, establishing May 30 as “Decoration Day” to honor the Civil War dead. This later became a national holiday called Memorial Day.
Although 340 acres of land were added to the fort in 1908, by 1909 Fort Logan was reduced to a recruiting depot. This remained its sole function until 1922 when the 38th Infantry was garrisoned at what locals sometimes referred to as “Fort Forgotten.” Despite a brief resurgence of activity in the 1930s and early 1940s, Fort Logan closed in May 1946. In 1960, much of the land was deeded to the State of Colorado to establish a state hospital that still operates as the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Fort Logan. On March 10, 1950, Congress authorized the use of military lands at Fort Logan as a national cemetery, but limited the size to no more than 160 acres. Since that time, the cemetery has expanded from the original 160 acres to 214 acres.
Monuments and Memorials
Fort Logan features a memorial pathway lined with a variety of memorials that honor America’s veterans from various organizations. There are 17 memorials at Fort Logan National Cemetery—most commemorating soldiers of various 20th-century wars.