Frequently Asked Questions
Planning Your Visit
How much does it cost to visit Fort Larned?
How long does it take to see
Are there guided tours of the fort?
Where are the restrooms?
What features are wheelchair accessible?
Currently, the visitor center and barracks/hospital buildings are wheelchair accessible. However, other walkways around the fort, other fort buildings, and the nature trail are not
Because we do not collect entrance fees at this site, passes to the national parks are not available at Fort Larned. See Fees & Reservations for more information about obtaining passes from nearby sites.
History - General
What Indian tribes lived in the area?
Where any famous people ever here? Yes, there were a number of famous visitors here during the Fort's history. Some of these people include George Armstrong Custer, Winfield Scott Hancock, H.M. Stanley, Buffalo Bill Cody, Kit Carson, Ned Wynkoop, and Philip Sheridan.
Was the Fort ever attacked by Indians?
Where was the
Where were Camp on Pawnee Fork and
Why was this site selected for the fort? In general, the site was selected for its proximity to the Santa Fe Trail and its distance relative to other forts in Kansas. Specifically, this fort was sited along the Pawnee Fork for its easy access to water. Some thought that the creek gave a natural defense on three sides of the Fort.
Are these the original buildings? Yes, the nine buildings around the parade ground are the original buildings, retaining significant portions of their original construction. Significant restoration work has also been done to protect the buildings and to return them to historic conditions. The blockhouse in the corner is the only building that has been entirely reconstructed.
When were these buildings built? The remaining original buildings were started in 1866 and finished in 1868. Buildings built out of other materials at the fort before and after these structures have not survived.
Where did all this graffiti come from?
Where did they get the stone to build the Fort? Most of the stone was quarried about 3 miles east of here, near what is called Lookout or Jenkins Hill, in quarries now on private land.
Was there ever a wall or a stockade around the Fort? No. Timber was scarce, making the construction of a stockade impractical. It was also thought that the Pawnee Fork on two sides and its muddy oxbow on a third provided reasonable protection against a direct assault.
Why is there an empty space between the shops building and the new commissary? That vacant space intended for a new guardhouse. The foundation was laid, but the building was never completed. The blockhouse was used as a guardhouse instead.
Why are there gun slits only on one side of the two buildings on the south side of the parade ground? Military planners presumed an attack would come from the open field on the south side of the fort and so concentrated the defenses in that direction. The third building with rifle slits, the blockhouse, provided 360 degrees of protection.
What was the purpose of the blockhouse? The blockhouse was built for defense, but when it proved to be unnecessary, it was converted into the guardhouse, or jail.
Where were the stables? Records indicate that the stables were south of the Old Commissary building.
How thick are the walls? The thickness of the walls vary from 2 to 2 ½ feet.
History – Life on Post
How many men were stationed here? The fort is designed to accommodate four companies of 100 men each. Over the fort's lifetime, the average number of men stationed here at any given time was between 200-250. The actual number varied quite a bit, and at times was much higher or much lower than the average.
Do you have a list of men who served here? No. Information on the men who served in the individual companies can be obtained from the National Archives in
How many men were in a company? A company varied in size, containing from 64 to 100 men. However, many times when men were discharged, their positions remained vacant for some time. Desertion and disease reduced the number of men also. Sometimes a company numbered from 35 to 60.
How many officers were there to a company? There were three commissioned officers per company. One was the captain and the other two were 1st and 2nd Lieutenant. There were also non-commissioned officers such as sergeants and corporals.
Were there any women out here at the Fort? Yes. A few of the officers brought their wives and families with them. A few of the soldiers might have brought their families with them. There were army laundresses that were part of the army.
Where did the wagon trains stay? Wagon trains usually camped near the creek, but off the military reservation, which would be approximately two miles away.
History – The Ranching Period and Other Bygones
What happened to the big barn that used to be out here? The big barn that you may remember was actually the two barracks buildings that had been joined together. We have restored the barracks back their original configuration.
How many years was the Fort used as a ranch? The fort was used as a ranch for over 80 years, from 1885 – 1966.
What family owned this fort? The Frizell family owned the fort for 64 years, 1902 – 1966.
When this was a ranch, where did the ranch owner and the hired hands live? The Frizells lived in the Commanding Officer's House and the farm hands and families lived in the Company Officer's Quarters.
How high is the flagpole? The flagpole is 99 feet high.
How many stars are on the flag? There are 37 stars on the flag, reflecting the
Why does the flagpole look like a ship's mast? To reach its height, two poles are fastened end to end. As a ship's mast, it is made to withstand high winds. It was not so much a stylistic choice as it was a solution to an engineering problem.
Is that the original flagpole? No. The original flagpole was struck by lightning and burned in 1877.
How big is the flag? We fly several sizes of flags. The largest, the garrison flag, is 36' long by 20' high.
How long do the flags last in the
Did You Know?
George Armstrong Custer and the newly-organized 7th U.S. Cavalry encamped at Fort Larned before and during their campaigns against the Cheyenne in 1867 and 1868. Custer's first experience dealing with Plains Indians occurred at Fort Larned. More...