Friday, February 10, 2017

Minnesota Historical Sites - Fort Snelling

Erica Vetsch here:

One of the oldest historical sites run by the Minnesota State Historical Society is Fort Snelling. Built in the 1820s on a bluff high above the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers, the fort stood sentinel for decades, a military outpost built to protect the frontier and supply pioneers in the ever-expanding American West.

The fort was an active military post for more than 120 years, standing strong through conflicts at home and abroad. Many Minnesotans got their first taste of military life at Fort Snelling, from Civil War recruits to World War II G.I.s.

My daughter, my goofy nephew, and myself atop the tower at
Fort Snelling. The barracks are to the left, and over my shoulder
is the commandant's house. 

Located near the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in the Twin Cities, the Fort is now operated as a living history site, restored to its 1820s-1830's appearance and staffed with living history actors and historians. The fort plays a key role in interpreting more than just military history in Minnesota. The fort serves to help us understand Dakota and Ojibwe history, the history of slavery in America, and the fur trade of the Northwest.

From Zebulon Pike to Dred Scott to Little Crow, many famous Americans have ties to Historic Fort Snelling, one of four major military forts found in Minnesota. (The others being Abercrombie, Ripley, and Ridgely.)

The fort, one of the busiest and most popular of the state's historic sites, is also home to the Fort Snelling National Cemetery, the final resting place of more than 180,000 men and women who have served in our armed forces.

Frank Glick took this photo of an eagle on a
gravestone at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.
Historic Fort Snelling is currently raising funds to improve the visitor's and interpretive center at the fort, hoping to better utilize some of the historic buildings on the site.

Do you have any historic forts in your state?

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  1. Thank you for sharing. I'm not sure about any old forts in Illinois. I know there are lots of historical places to visit, especially about President Abraham Lincoln. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Hi Erica, thank you for sharing about Fort Smelling. Here in Kentucky the two forts that I am most familiar with are both in the Eastern part of the state and driving to them provide great day trips. Fort Harrod was the first permanent American settlement in the state of Kentucky and it is located at Hattiesburg. Fort Boonesborough was a frontier fort in Kentucky that was founded by Daniel Boone and his men following their crossing of the Kentucky River on April 1, 1775. There is a beach for swimming and of course the fort and museum.
    Happy Valentine's Day!