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Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Fort Snelling sits on a bluff overlooking where the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers meet.  It was an important outpost during the frontier days and also served as a crucial military post.  However, by the mid-1800’s, as the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul were developed and growing, the need for a frontier military fort lessened and in 1858 the fort was sold to Franklin Steele for $90,000.

On our way to the fort we ran into Susie (dressed in World War II attire), 
who gave us a ton of history and background information.

We received a warm welcome from the guard at the gate.

I especially loved this shaving stand . . .

. . . complete with shaving soap . . .

 . . . and a shaving brush.

A few years later, during the Civil War, Franklin Steele leased the fort back to the War Department and it became a major induction center, training over 24,000 recruits from Minnesota.  The fort played an active role in the Dakota War (1862), and soldiers from the fort would also fight in the Indian Wars as well as the Spanish American War (1898).

A trading cart.

There were several arts and craft projects for the youngsters.

Faithful service to the end.

During World War Two, the War Department chose Fort Snelling as the location for their Military Intelligence Service Language School where they would teach Japanese to Army personnel.  Numerous buildings were erected for housing and teaching the more than 300,000 soldiers processed there, but following the war the Language School was relocated to Monterey, California, and in 1946 the fort was officially decommissioned.

Reenactments took place throughout the day.

School was in session.

The shackles . . .

. . . and cells of the fort jail.

In the years following, much of the old fort fell into disrepair, but in 1960 it was listed as a National Historic Landmark.  The Minnesota Historical Society, which oversees the site, converted the original walled fortress into and education center.  The fort was rebuilt to resemble its original appearance, and now from spring through early fall, visitors are able to interact with the costumed staff who help to interpret daily life at this important historical landmark.

We found the gun powder!

Somehow, I don't think this beer bottle is authentic.

Looking down from the Round Tower.

We had a great view of the Minneapolis downtown from the Round Tower.

On our way out we ran into Susie again, who recently married 
her husband Todd (seen here in World War I attire).

Bidding farewell to Historic Fort Snelling.

Historic Fort Snelling is a truly amazing place, and I especially loved the look back into daily life of the mid-1800’s landmark.  The restored structure, along with the military reenactments, provided an historical perspective on an era and happenings that many, including me, were unaware of.  If you haven’t visited Historic Fort Snelling, I highly suggest you add this to your “must see” list.  You’ll be glad you did.

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