courtesy of Ft. Larned National Historic Society|
courtesy of Keith Stokes|
courtesy of Ft. Larned National Historic Society
Fort Larned National Historic Site is a finalist for the 8 Wonders of
Kansas because it is the best-preserved authentic frontier post in the
After the construction of native-stone buildings in 1867-1868, under
direction of Captain A. F. Rockwell, Fort Larned was a premier post on the
Great Plains. Rockwell's work is legendary, attested by the fact that all
buildings constructed at Fort Larned still stand today. Following its active
years, the sturdy structures of the post were preserved and used by private
owners. The National Park Service acquired the site in 1964. Today Fort
Larned National Historic Site has nine original stone structures (including
post hospital, bakery, blacksmith shop, enlisted men's barracks, mess hall,
officers quarters, and storehouses) and a reconstructed blockhouse. It is
situated in a pristine setting on the Pawnee tributary of the Arkansas
Fort Larned was established in 1859 and was designed to keep the peace on
the plains and did so remarkably well through the era of the Civil War and
the Plains Indian Wars. Located in an area frequented by many Plains
Indians, including Pawnee, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Kiowa, Comanche, and Sioux,
military personnel and Indian agents stationed here faced many challenges.
The post served as a distribution point for tribal annuities for a few
years, leading to an unusual twist of circumstances: the fort that was
established to keep Indians from the Santa Fe Trail became a gathering place
where large numbers of Indians came to collect their annuities.
Many famous officers walked the grounds at Larned as they were passing
through including Winfield S. Hancock,
George A. Custer, Kit Carson, and Philip Sheridan.
Location: 6 miles west of Larned on K-156.
Hours and admission charge: Daily 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Contact: 620.285.6911; Kevin_mcmurry@nps.gov.