On the frontier, when the Army needed repairs done or something built, it often fell upon skilled, civilian tradesmen to do the work. Blacksmiths and carpenters were paid a handsome wage for their skilled labor. In 1867, blacksmiths made $85 a month, saddlers and wheelwrights $90. Many soldiers took on extra duty working in the shops building as laborers, blacksmiths, and mechanics.
The bakery on the north end of the shops building was used to bake fresh bread for the men stationed at Fort Larned. The large, brick oven heated by a wood fire had a huge capacity for bread baked by one of the enlisted men assigned to the job. Interestingly, the army did not provide the fresh bread to the troops over concerns that it was causing stomach ailments. Instead, the bread was allowed to "dry" on racks for at least two days before being served.
The Shops building may also have been used for the distribution of annuities to the
Did You Know?
Fort Larned is located directly on the Dry Route of the Santa Fe Trail, which follows the Pawnee Fork. The Wet Route, which more closely follows the Arkansas River, is just a few miles to the south. More...