History & Culture
Fort Union Trading Post history
Fort Union Trading Post was established in 1828 by the American Fur Company. It was not a government or a military post, but a commercial venture established for the specific purpose of doing business with the northern plains tribes. This trade business continued until 1867, making Fort Union the longest-lasting of American fur trade posts.
Many well-known individuals visited the fort during the fur trade period: George Catlin, Prince Maximilian of Wied, Karl Bodmer, and John James Audubon. Tribal leaders and peoples from many nations came to and traded at Fort Union as well. A variety of jobs by skilled workers made up many of the duties done at here.
The people, places, and stories are a large part of the make up when looking at Fort Union during its historic period. With the help of local citizens and agencies, the site was acquired by the National Park Service in 1966. After three archaeological projects, reconstruction of the bourgeois house was completed in 1987, followed by the walls and bastions in 1989 and finishing the trade house in 1991.
Click to read the Historic Furnishings Report.
Did You Know?
In 1832 George Catlin, concerned about the destruction of Indian civilization, wildlife and wilderness, wrote they might be preserved "by some great protecting policy of government..in a magnificent park.. a nation's park...." which became the national park idea.