Historic Structures Report
Part II — Historical Data Section
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Chapter 5

The first four of these structures are placed together here because the Master Plan calls only for their being outlined on the ground. Site clearing and archeological investigation will be required, but no reconstruction is involved. The stone building HS 30 is also included inasmuch as it stands on the site of the Quartermaster Stables, HS 13, and may have been a part of the original compound of stables, storerooms, and corral.

HS 10 Dragoon Stables

Swords first planned two sets of stables, one adjacent to each of the two dragoon barracks, on opposite sides of the parade ground. When the two companies of dragoons were reduced to one in 1843, he decided not to build the second set, on the east side of the parade. Although discussion renewed the idea from time to time, the second set was never built.

HS 10 was a framed and weather-boarded building having doors at either end and in the middle of its west side (the side away from the parade ground). A row of stalls extended along both sides of the structure. According to the 1848 plan there were 68 stalls. Capt. Sidney Burbank recalled that there was stabling for about 80 horses. [1] At the north end of the structure two small rooms, one on either side, bordered the doorway. Three similar rooms were located at the opposite end.

The 1848 plan suggests that a roof overhung the feeding doors along the east side of the building. And the 1871 lithograph suggests that a similar roof extended along the west side. Above the stables a small loft, having a small window in at least the south end, was used to store hay. [2]

By October 1848, the 210-foot structure was "covered and nearly weather-boarded in." [3] When Croghan saw it the next year, he was displeased that the building was in line with the barracks and that it faced directly on the parade. He thought it should have been located behind the barracks and at right angles to it. [4] Although the stable was not yet finished, the dragoons' horses occupied it from November 18443 on. The permanent flooring appears to have been laid by October 1845. [5] But the fort plan of 1848 contains the comment, "inside work, stalls etc. not yet commenced." Like so many other of the structures, the dragoon stable experienced a variety of occupants in its post-military history. As early as 1858, C. F. Drake established a thriving business within its walls. He was a tinsmith and retailer; his stock consisted of cooking and heating stoves, tinware, kettles, and stove pipe. [6]

When the Confederate troops threatened the town in the fall of 1861, the Union troops at Fort Scott occupied the former stable as a barracks. However, they returned the building to Drake in April 1862. [7] Hardly had Drake resumed his business when the Army again took over the building, using two-thirds of it as a warehouse for commissary stores. "It will," said the local editor, "hold a vast amount of hard bread." The Army quickly discovered that the roof needed repair and began to recover it in July 1862. The quartermaster also laid a floor in the building at this time. The structure proved useful in other ways too during those exciting hectic days of the war. The paper reported "a very pleasant party in the Commissary building last Wednesday evening." [8]

By 1870, the old stable was apparently becoming dilapidated. Plans were made to remove the building and to erect a number of neat cottages on the site. Said the Monitor, "We trust the idea will be carried out; nothing would tend more to beautifying that portion of our city." [9] These plans must have fallen through for, five months later, Check and Benner advertised they had acquired the building and named it the Western Feed and Livery Stable. Not only did they keep horses by the day or week, they offered for sale carriages, buggies, and [10] The site today is occupied partly by a lumber yard and partly by a sheet metal works.

HS 11, Ordnance and Post Headquarters

This frame, weather-boarded, one-story building had two functions: post headquarters and the ordnance storerooms. The structure contained three rooms. The most southerly room contained both the commanding officer's desk and the court martial office. The middle room was divided between more space for the commanding officer and the ordnance storeroom. Although the 1848 post plan does not show partitions in these two rooms, it would seem likely that they were partitioned because of the dual use of each. Furthermore, the 1855 advertisement described the building as having five rooms. [11] The room to the north, having large double doors at both ends, was the gun house. Contrary to most other structures, the building did not have a verandah.

By October 1845, the frame for this 32 by 57-foot structure had been erected. The quartermaster considered the building to be completed when he prepared his 1848 map. [12] Apparently the structure had other names during military days. The post ordnance sergeant, Phillip Zeal, claimed in 1870 that when he was at Fort Scott, 1842-45, it was known as "the Sergeant's house, from the fact that the Sergeant's office or headquarters were in the building." When the building came up for sale in 1855, ex-Sergeant Zeal, then settled just over the Missouri border, purchased HS 11. He apparently did not live in the building himself, but either rented or resold it. [13]

In December 1858, the most violent act of the Bleeding Kansas period in Fort Scott occurred around this building. By then, Blake Little was living in it and also had his store there. When James Montgomery and his gang raided the town on December 16, John Little grabbed his gun and went to the doorway to determine what was happening. When one of Montgomery's men attempted to enter, Little fired at him then closed the door. A few minutes later he peered through the transom above the door and was instantly killed by a jayhawker's bullet.

HS 11 was one of the structures the Army rented at Fort Scott during the Civil War. Apparently, Justice of the Peace Margrave, who is said to have lived in Officers Quarters No. 1 next door, acquired this property about this time. The Monitor referred to it in 1870 as the "old Margrave house." [14] The date the building was removed is unknown. Today a small frame house stands on the site.

HS 12, Quartermaster Storerooms

Similar in appearance and size to the ordnance-headquarters building, HS 12 contained four rooms and a short narrow hall, and was said to be 60 by 32 feet. It was one of the first buildings to be completed, being reported as occupied in June 1843. [15]

Besides the quartermaster's office, the building contained the quartermaster's storeroom, the subsistence storeroom, and a loft. The fourth room was not identified on the 1848 plan. This was the only building at the post known to have a basement, undoubtedly for the storage of perishables. [16]

Inspector Croghan thought it was a fine storehouse, "sufficiently spacious for a much larger supply." [17] This is one of the few fort buildings that appear not to have been rented by the Army during the Civil War. The 1871 sketch of Fort Scott shows that the building was still standing at that time. Today its site is occupied by a large frame residence.

HS 13, Quartermaster Stables

Although Croghan believed the quartermaster storehouse to be sufficiently large for supplies, he did not mention other activities and facilities for which the post quartermaster was ordinarily responsible: oxen and mules for hauling supplies, wagons, butchering facilities, smithy, forage, etc. The post quartermasters seemed to feel that the structures required for housing these various activities had a low priority in the construction schedule (in contrast to the priority of their own office). For several years they mentioned the need for quartermaster stables, but did not undertake this construction until about 1848. The post plan of that year shows that work had begun on a large enclosed compound east of the quartermaster building. It was labeled "Quartermaster's Stables, Shops, etc."

As proposed in the plan, the interior court could serve as a corral and work area. On the east side was a stable containing (in the drawing) 21 stalls. The only other identification given was for six small rooms north of the gate on the west side which were listed as corn and oat cribs. At that time work had begun on only this part of the complex and only the frame was up for it. Three larger rooms were planned for the west side south of the gate. The plan does not show the intended use of the long structures on the north and south sides of the compound. According to the scale given, the outside dimensions of the compound would be about 140 by 115 feet.

It appears that work continued on this complex despite the late date in the post's history. Captain Burbank recalled that when he left Fort Scott in the fall of 1848, "the foundation had been laid and the commencement made for another [in addition to the dragoon stable] stable intended for the animals of the Quartermaster's Department." Burbank had no way of knowing if the work was ever completed, but he thought the stable would have been large enough for 60 horses. [18] It would appear that work did proceed after Burbank's departure. In February 1849, Quartermaster Morrow, in trying to decide where he could store hay, wrote that some of it could be put in the quartermaster stables, as well as the dragoons'. [19]

In the same letter Morrow requested authority to build a hay barn with a shed attached for sheltering oxen. The quartermaster general approved the shed only, providing troop labor performed the work. It is not known if Morrow proceeded with the shed or, if so, if it was located in the quartermaster complex. [20]

When the Army offered the buildings for sale in 1855, it listed in a common grouping such quartermaster activities as blacksmith shop, carpenter shop, granaries, root houses, and ice house. While it might be logical for the quartermaster to place all these within the complex, there is no documentary evidence to support the assumption. [21]

The Army's 1863 map of Fort Scott, which designated the buildings rented by the military in the Civil War, only muddles any concept of this area. Instead of showing a compound, it depicts five separate structures in a wild disarray of alignment in that area. [22] The next chronological evidence, the 1871 sketch of Fort Scott, reverses this process. It shows a neat compound that generally follows the 1848 plan. On the east side is a long building where the quartermaster originally planned the stables. On the west side are two buildings separated by a gateway that leads into the corral, again as the quartermaster planned. Smaller structures enclose the north and south sides. Because of the remarkable accuracy of the artist's work where it may be checked against documentation, it must be assumed that HS 13 is depicted at least generally accurately. This implies that the 1848 plan was eventually brought to completion.

The site today is covered with a scattering of residences and the stone structure that is discussed next.

HS 30, Stone Building

The Master Plan recommends that this old, tall, stone building, about which almost nothing is definitely known, be preserved for the time being. It is difficult to describe this one and one-half, ungainly building with clarity. The stonework is poor enough to suggest that it was done by inexperienced workmen—such as were present in Army days. The south end is a solid rock wall without any openings. The north end has a large door-like opening in the middle. The west side, which might have been considered the front, has two double windows and a door on the ground level (the double window south of the door adjoins it), and a single opening above, set low above the door. On the east side there is today a door toward the north end and a single opening directly under the eave in about the middle of the wall. The doorway on this side is evidently a modification of a much wider and higher door that once was located there. The lintel of the former door is still in place, while the space around the smaller door has been filled in with stone.

Several theories have been offered concerning the origins of this structure: 1. That it is a remnant of the old Army quartermaster complex. (It is located so that it could have been in the southwest corner of the quartermaster's 1848 plan for the compound. There is no hint in the military records that any of the original complex was stone.) 2. That No. 1, above, is correct and that this was the blacksmith shop mentioned in the Army's 1855 advertisement. 3. That it is a post-army structure that just happened to be located where it is. 4. That it is typical of the kind of building erected in Missouri, Kansas and elsewhere for the butchering of beef. The large door allowed for moving animals or carcasses into the building, while the interior was large enough to construct the wheel-axle-pulley arrangement with which to suspend the carcass while it was being butchered. Such a building might have been built by the post quartermaster before 1853 or later by a citizen of the town.

4. Post hospital, HS 8; magazine, HS 17, with dome; well canopy, HS 15, with white pillars; and Officers Quarters No. 3. Photo taken before 1868.

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Last Updated: 30-Nov-2009