By definition a historic structures report has as its primary object the building or buildings which are among the principal physical resources of a national historic site. This historical data section is concerned with eight of the ten structures that will comprise the historic scene at Fort Larned National Historic Site, Fort Larned, Kansas.
The report is divided into three chapters: army strategy and construction policy in 1866, the development of Fort Larned, and the structures themselves. The discussion moves from the reasons for construction and construction policy, to the physical development of the post, and ends with an examination of each building. In a general sense, three thematic questions are asked: why was Fort Larned built, how did it develop, and what was constructed?
Fort Larned was not built in a vacuum. The buildings are of interest not only in and for themselves; they also serve a symbolic function. They represent Fort Larned's participation in the historical period designated Westward Expansion and, more closely delimited, the Indian Wars. The structures themselves could perhaps be classified and dismissed as "frontier barrack" or "19th century Kansas military;" nevertheless, they symbolize the extension of 19th century American civilization onto the Great Plains. The United States Army, the institution through or by means of which the country expressed its will to secure the area by military force, participated in and indeed often led this expansion. The buildings at Fort Larned stand, then, as a symbol of that army and the civilization it served.
Last Updated: 2009