Fort Snelling 1861 ~ 1946
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member MNSearchers
N 44° 53.607 W 093° 11.322
15T E 485100 N 4971131
Quick Description: The story of Fort Snelling is the story of the development of the U.S. Northwest. While surrounded today by freeways and a large urban population, Fort Snelling was once a lonely symbol of American ambition in the wilderness.
Location: Minnesota, United States
Date Posted: 2/19/2008 2:37:29 PM
Waymark Code: WM36TG
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
Views: 70

Long Description:
In 1819, the 5th Regiment of Infantry arrived at the junction of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers to build the northwest link in this chain of forts and agencies. Here, where traffic could be controlled on two major rivers, Fort Snelling was completed in 1825. Colonel Josiah Snelling's officers and soldiers permanently changed the landscape. They made roads, built a gristmill and sawmill at St. Anthony Falls, planted hundreds of acres of vegetables, wheat and corn, cut hay for their livestock, felled trees for their fires and made the first documented weather recordings in the area. All the while they enforced the laws and policies of the United States.

Near the fort, at the St. Peter's Agency, Major Lawrence Taliaferro mediated disputes between Minnesota's Dakota and Ojibwe (sometimes spelled Ojibwe or Ojibwa or referred to as Chippewa or Anishinabe) Indians. He attempted to ease tensions between both tribes and their new white neighbors.

For almost 30 years, Fort Snelling was the hub of the Upper Mississippi and the meeting place of diverse cultures. Dakota and Ojibwe gathered at the agency and fort to trade, debate government policy and perform their dances and sports. Traders stopped at the fort while their goods were inspected. The American and Columbia fur companies built headquarters nearby and employees' families settled at nearby Mendota.

By 1851, treaties had opened much of the new Territory of Minnesota to settlement and pushed the frontier farther west. Newer forts Ridgely, Ripley and Abercrombie took over frontier duties while Fort Snelling was demoted to a supply depot. In 1858, the year Minnesota became a state, the fort was sold to a land developer and platted as a town site. Plans for the city of Fort Snelling were abandoned, however, with the outbreak of the Civil War.

Between 1861 and 1865 Minnesota expanded the fort as a training center for thousands of volunteers who joined the Union Army. After the war, the regular Army returned. Fort Snelling became headquarters and supply base for the military Department of Dakota, which extended from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains. Regulars from Fort Snelling served in the Indian campaigns and in the Spanish-American War of 1898.

Between 1880 and the early 1900s, scores of new barracks, officers' quarters, and storehouses were built at the post while the decayed buildings of the old stone fort were demolished. During World War II Fort Snelling processed over 300,000 inductees and trained soldiers in duties from operating railroads to speaking Japanese. At war's end the old fort was finally closed and turned over to the Veteran's Administration.

In the 1950s, the threat of a freeway through the old fort inspired public effort to save the remnants of Minnesota's oldest buildings. The U.S. Department of the Interior designated Fort Snelling as the state's first National Historic Landmark in 1960, and since then both public and private funds have been used to rebuild the fort. Within its impressive walls costumed guides present a vivid picture of early military, civilian and American Indian life in the region. The adjacent Fort Snelling History Center provides orientation films and changing exhibits on aspects of Minnesota's past, while Fort Snelling State Park offers dozens of hiking trails and natural settings.

Marker Type:: City

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BigChiefS4 visited Fort Snelling 1861 ~ 1946 12/27/2011 BigChiefS4 visited it