Historic Structure Report
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A. Name and Number of Structures.

The First and Second Forts and the Arsenal consist of 205 structural remains occupying approximately 230 acres. None of these remains are on the List of Classified Structures, but should be listed as soon as possible. Fort Union was located 100 miles northeast of Santa Fe on the Santa Fe Trail. Both the Mountain and Cimarron Routes connected with the fort. Modern access is via New Mexico Highway 161, eight miles from Interstate 25 (exit 366), at Watrous, Las Vegas, New Mexico is approximately thirty miles to the south.

B. Proposed Use of the Structures.

Continuation of public visitation for the purposes of historical interpretation and research.

C. Justification for Use.

The ruins of the First and Second Forts and Arsenal represent a major supply depot along the Santa Fe Trail, a symbol of Federal Dominance in New Mexico, a defensive point during the Civil War, a major economic factor in the Southwest, and a point where several cultures met, worked, cooperated, and had conflict. Consisting of a Garrison, Quartermaster and Commissary Depots, and an Arsenal, Fort Union during the two different periods of the First and Second Forts played an important role not only in the history of New Mexico, but that of the entire West. The Santa Fe Trail is inextricably linked to Fort Union and has significant historical associations dating back to as early as, if not earlier than 1200 A.D. Fort Union's influence spread through the military posts in the Southwest through the Depot functions, reached in all directions through the Indian Campaigns its troops participated in, and reached both east and west all along the Santa Fe Trail both as a supply and destination point and through the protection function of the fort. The Second Fort Union is one (if not the only one) of the best preserved earthworks of Civil War vintage, west of the Mississippi River.

D. Provisions for Operating Structures.

Fort Union National Monument is operated by the National Park Service in accordance with an approved General Management Plan approved in 1985, a draft Statement for Management dated 1993, and other planning documents. The Director of the National Park Service testified during congressional hearings establishing the monument that no reconstruction would be performed at this site. Current preservation efforts are directed toward protection and preservation of the ruins in their present form.

E. Cooperative Agreements.

Local cooperative agreements exist for the purpose of providing wild land and structural fire protection.

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Last Updated: 13-Feb-2006