Fort Scott

Fort Scott, KS
Photo by nancynanc / CC BY

The story of Fort Scott is the story of America growing up. When the fort was established in 1842, the nation was still young and confined largely to the area east of the Mississippi River. Yet within a few years, Fort Scott's soldiers became involved in events that would lead to tremendous spurts of growth and expansion. As the nation developed, tensions over slavery led to the conflict and turmoil of "Bleeding Kansas" and the Civil War. Fort Scott takes you through these years of crisis and beyond to the time when the United States emerged as a united, transcontinental nation.

Following the Indian Removal Act of 1830 and the Intercourse Act of 1834, which declared that the land west of the Mississippi belonged to the American Indians, the United States built a series of forts from Minnesota to Louisiana to enforce the promise of a “permanent Indian frontier.” Erected in 1842, Fort Scott was among the line of forts established to maintain peace between white settlers and neighboring Indian tribes. Eventually, as the nation developed, tensions over the issue of slavery would place Fort Scott at the center of Bleeding Kansas and ultimately the Civil War. Today, Fort Scott National Historic Site stands as a witness to the history of the conflicts between various cultural groups important in the American story. When the United States broke its promise to reserve the land west of the Mississippi for American Indians, the United States Army recognized that its services to protect the Indian frontier were no longer required and abandoned Fort Scott by 1853.


Entrance to Fort Scott NHS is free of charge. It is open 362 days a year (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. Throughout the year, visitors can view an 1840s military fort and connect with the lives of the soldiers, laundresses, the sutler, the surgeon and others who strived to create a semblance of home at a frontier military post.



Source: NPS

Updated August 31, 2020

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