Fort Scott National Historic Site

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    In 1842, Dragoon soldiers established a fort in Indian territory, on a bluff overlooking the Marmaton River Valley. Named after General Winfield Scott, the fort's primary purpose was to police and protect the permanent Indian frontier.
    The U.S. Army abandoned Fort Scott in 1853 but returned to the town on different occasions to restore law and order from the chaos of "Bleeding Kansas" between 1855 and 1861.
    During this period, the town of Fort Scott and Bourbon County werer bitterly divided over the issue of slavery. The majority of citizens,Southern sympathizers, were in direct conflict with "Free-Soilers." Even the Free-State Hotel and the Pro-slave Western Hotel sat opposite each other on the former Parade Ground.
    The army returned to Ft. Scott once more, in the 1870's, when the railroad was being built. This time the protected the railway right-of-way during construction from angry farmers whose land was being being confiscated.
    Today, the fort is a National Historic Site, administered by the National Park Service. The Western Holtel, a former barracks, houses a museum with an outstanding Bleeding Kansas exhbit. The fort is open 8-5, except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day.
hospital exterior This view of the hospital, 
at the front of the parade grounds,  shows the
Ft. Scott sign.
from veranda to downtown This view of downtown of the city of Fort Scott shows how nicely the revitalized downtown area looks.
enlisted mens' barracks This enlisted men's
barracks uses one central staircase. Further photos show exhibits inside.
officers' barracks This officers' quarters barracks
later became the Free-State
Hotel when property was sold
off by the military in 1855.
well and cover This Georgian canopy was
reconstructed from old plans
found for the fort. Classical
Georgian style was quite popular at the time of construction, 1843.
This stable originally housed 80 horses for the flashy Dragoon Cavalry.
cavalry barn
Currently there are twenty 
horse stalls in the stable. The rest of the stable is used for museum storage..
stable interior
This view, from the porch of the barracks, looks southeastward across the parade grounds.
from porch east
This view, from the northeast, looks straight across the parage grounds.
across parade grounds
This is the Quartermaster's Storehouse. The quadrangle behind included grain bins, corn cribs, ice house, and stable for draft horses.
quartermaster's quarters
Inside the Quartermaster's Storehouse were shelves and barrels full of foodstuffs, parishables, candles and lighting supplies.
supply barrels
There were three carriage houses at the back of the fort. The largest contained these wagons.
wagons
hospital interior Sick and wonded soldiers had plenty of opportunity for bed rest, but little was done in the hospital to assure sanitary conditions.
barracks interior Enlisted men slept in bunk beds. Non-commissioned officers shared a separate room in the barracks.
from porch south This view, also from the porch of the barracks, looks more southerly, toward the hospital.
cannon faces east All cannons in Ft. Scott, and the Ft. Scott community beyond, are still aimed toward Missouri.
bakery oven Inside the Post Bakery is the oven for bread making. Soldiers took turns pulling baking duty. They baked 200 loaves every two days.
blacksmith shop This is the blacksmith's shop. Nearby was the camp privy foundation and evidence of a washhouse. Soldiers were exected to bathe at least once per month.
guardhouse interior Soldiers took turns pulling guard
duty at the Guardhouse. It was not
a popular duty because each 24
hours period demanded that they sleep in short shifts on a hard
wooden platform.


Much of the text for this page came from a travel brochure, "Border Wars: Bleeding Kansas, A Prelude to the Civil War--a tour through Miami, Linn, and Bourbon counties."

Photos 1999 Carol Yoho
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