• Fort Parade Ground and Officers Quarters as seen from Guardhouse

    Fort Scott

    National Historic Site Kansas

4th of July Activities

Artillery crew demonstrating cannon firing at Fort Scott NHS.

Artillery crew demonstrating cannon firing during Independence Day events in July of 2012.

NPS Photo

John Adams, one of the founders of our new nation, said of the 4th of July, "I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival…it ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward for evermore." Fort Scott National Historic Site continues this tradition and invites you to come and join us in a celebration of our nation's independence for an Old Fashioned Military Holiday. A cannon firing at dusk, musical entertainment, children's games, and free ice cream are just a few of the activities offered Saturday, June 29, Thursday, July 4, Saturday, July 6, and Sunday, July 7.

On Saturday, June 29, a special evening cannon firing will symbolize a military salute to "Old Glory" by soldiers of Fort Scott in the 1840s. In November of 1845, Fort Scott received a shipment of two artillery pieces yet no artillerymen ever fired the guns. Learn more about who fired these guns and witness the power of cannons during a ceremonial firing at dusk.

Our nation was founded on the idea that all men are created equal, but this hasn't always been the case in practice. Take a step back in history with "What to the Slave is the 4th of July?" and hear what the 4th of July meant to a black man in 1852, with a speech by former slave Frederick Douglass as portrayed by Park Guide Ramon Taylor. "Independence Day II – Fireworks at High Tide" will focus on Civil War events that engulfed and swirled around Independence Day in 1863 helping to assure that the dream of freedom could be extended to all men. "What the 4th of July Means to Me?" at 2 p.m. on Thursday, July 4, is a stirring tableau highlighting the meaning of Independence Day from the 1840s through the Civil War. After the program, have a cup of homemade ice cream provided by the Friends of Fort Scott NHS, Inc. as you listen to patriotic music provided by "Fuss and Feathers."

On Saturday and Sunday, July 6 and 7, come and mingle with soldiers, laundresses, and officers wives representing garrison life as living history will be featured throughout the weekend. Test your skills as you take part in the fun of competing in historic games. The bark of cannon and gunfire will be heard throughout the day as artillery programs will pay honor to our freedom. Listen as Ranger Robert Thomas provides a rousing patriotic speech followed by a 30-gun salute honoring the 30 states in the Union in 1848. "That ALL Men are Created Equal" will focus on President Abraham Lincoln's Independence Day Address given after he received the joyous news of Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg.

Guided tours will be offered each day. Thursday's tour at 10 a.m. will explore plants of the tallgrass prairie. A tour of the park's herb and flower garden will happen at 10 a.m. on Saturday. For those interested in learning more about the fort's history, a guided tour of the site occurs at 1 p.m. on Saturday and on Sunday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.he schedule of activities is listed below:

SATURDAY, JUNE 29

  • 8:30 pm – Cannon Firing at Sunset

THURSDAY, JULY 4

  • 10:00 a.m. – Tallgrass Prairie Tour
  • 11:00 a.m. – Challenges of Democracy – "Bleeding Kansas" Monologue
  • 12:00 noon – "Independence Day II-Fireworks at High Tide" – Ranger Talk
  • 1:00 p.m. – "What to the Slave is the 4th of July?" – Frederick Douglass, July 5, 1852
  • 2:00 p.m. – "What the 4th of July Means to Me" – Tableau/Historical Skit
  • 2:15 p.m. – Patriotic Music – Fuss and Feathers
  • 3:30 p.m. – "Load, Ready, Fire" – Artillery Demonstration
  • 4:00 p.m. – Flag Retreat

SATURDAY, JULY 6

  • 10:00 a.m. – Herbs and Flowers Tour
  • 11:00 a.m. – "Load, Ready, Fire" – Artillery Demonstration
  • 12:00 noon – "Let the Games Begin" – Historic Children's Games
  • 1:00 p.m. – Guided Tour
  • 2:00 p.m. – Patriotic Speech and 30 Gun Salute
  • 3:00 p.m. – "That ALL Men are Created Equal" – Abraham Lincoln's Independence Day Address, July 7, 1863
  • 4:00 p.m. – Flag Retreat

SUNDAY, JULY 7

  • 10:00 a.m. – "Load, Ready, Fire" – Artillery Demonstration
  • 11:00 a.m. – Guided Tour
  • 12:00 noon – "Independence Day II-Fireworks at High Tide" – Ranger Talk
  • 1:00 p.m. – Guided Tour
  • 2:00 p.m. – "Load, Ready, Fire" – Artillery Demonstration
  • 3:00 p.m. – "That ALL Men are Created Equal" – Abraham Lincoln's Independence Day Address, July 7, 1863
  • 4:00 p.m. – Flag Retreat
Fort Scott National Historic Site, a unit of the National Park Service, is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information call the site at 620-223-0310.

Did You Know?

Officers Quarters that later became the Goodlander Home for Children

After Fort Scott was abandoned by the army in 1853, the buildings were sold at public auction, and the fort became the town of Fort Scott. One of the officers' quarters eventually became the Goodlander Home for Children. For about fifty years, orphans and other needy children were cared for here.