The Wagner Perspective
Fort Laramie - Fort Laramie, Wyoming
For 56 years, Indians, trappers, traders, gold seekers, overland pioneers, soldiers, and Pony Express riders swept past the doors of the fort on the Laramie.
The fort traces its origin to Fort William, a fur-trading post constructed at the junction of the Laramie and North Platte Rivers in 1834. In 1841, the American Fur Company replaced the old log fort with a larger adobe structure, which they called Fort John. Fort John was noted as an island of civilization where information concerning trail conditions could be obtained from post personnel.
To protect the thousands of emigrants and Argonauts who were flowing up the Platte River Valley from increasingly frequent conflicts with Indians, the U.S. Army bought Fort John in 1849 for $4,000. The old fur trade post soon stood at the edge of a growing complex of military buildings, where emigrants were able to obtain supplies, repair equipment, re-shoe animals, and prepare for the difficult trip through the Rocky Mountains. For the next 40 years Fort Laramie stood as one of the most important military posts in the trans-Mississippi West.
It continued to serve as a stop for overland emigrants, a station for the Pony Express, and as a staging point from which troops were sent into the Indian's last strongholds. By 1890, the post had been bypassed by the nation it had helped expand and was sold at auction to the homesteads it had made possible.
Fort Laramie National Historic Site maintains a visitor center/museum with interpretive exhibits and several restored buildings from the military era.Fort Laramie National Historic Site
HC 72, Box 389
Fort Laramie, WY 82212
Did You Know?
Emigrants often camped for days at Alcove Spring in Northeastern Kansas as they waited for Spring floods to subside. The location was very peacful and had good water and grass for livestock. The ill-fated Donner & Reed wagon train had their first casualty here in 1846 when Sarah Keys died. More...