Join Historic Larimer County on October 8th for a walking tour of the old Provost property in Laporte. John Baptiste Provost was one of Larimer County’s first French Canadian immigrants. A former trapper, John Baptiste and his Sioux wife, Mary, settled along the south side of the Poudre River in 1859. Provost ran a saloon and grocery as well as a ferry service across the river (there being no nearby bridge at that time). In 1877, when all remaining Indigenous residents were ordered out of Northern Colorado, Provost divorced his wife and sent her away to the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota. He remarried within the year to Virginia Laure.
The old Provost property has been in the hands of the Brinks family since the 1980s. Rose Brinks has done substantial work researching the history of the property, making her book, “A certain 160 acres: Laporte, CO, from Provost to Brinks: 129 years of history, 1858 to 1987,” not only one of the most comprehensive studies of Provost history in Northern Colorado, but also one of the most important histories of Laporte, Colorado as well.
During this tour we’ll learn about the history of the site and the architecture of the buildings that remain. We’ll also wander back into the property to see portions of the old Greeley, Salt Lake City, & Pacific train line; one of the earliest irrigation canals that draws water from the Poudre River; and possibly a view of the countryside from the top of a hogback (if the property owners are amenable).
Most of the tour will be on level ground with at most 15-20 minutes of meandering back into the property, but there is a possibility of some steeper climbing adventures depending how far into the property we venture. So please wear comfortable standing/walking shoes that might also work well on the off chance we decide to climb a hill near the end.
The property is located just south of the Poudre River and just west of Overland Trail road. As you drive into the property, pass the first house on your left and aim for the second house, 2405 Overland Trail. The area for parking is limited, so it may be wise to carpool.