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[photo] The placement of Fort Osage, looking down on the Missouri, commanded a strategic position, although no remains of the original log post are extant
Photo from National Historic Landmarks collection

Lewis and Clark passed through the area of Fort Osage in June 1804 on their journey west to the Pacific Ocean. Clark considered this spot to be a good place for a fort with its "high commanding position, more than 70 feet above high-water mark, and overlooking the river, which is here but of little depth." Upon their return in 1806, Meriwether Lewis was named governor and William Clark was given the post of commander of the militia and Indian agent of the Louisiana Territory. Clark established Fort Osage, one of the first military outposts in the Louisiana Purchase, in 1808 to protect and promote trade with the Osage Indians. The fort was built by the men of the 1st Regiment, U.S. Infantry, who traveled in six keelboats up the Missouri River under the command of Captain Eli Clemon and the St. Charles Dragoons who marched overland under Clark's command. Fort Osage quickly became one of the most successful of the 28 government supervised trading posts that functioned from 1795 to 1822. These operated under a "factory" system intended to prevent exploitation of American Indians by individual traders. Fort Osage also became the point from which distances were measured on the Santa Fe Trail in 1825.

Fort Osage, a National Historic Landmark, is located at Sibley, Missouri, on the Missouri River, 14 miles northeast of Independence. From Kansas City take 24 Hwy. east to Buckner, Missouri. Turn north at Sibley St. (BB Hwy.) and travel 2-3 miles, watching carefully for directional signs. Drive through Sibley following the signs to Fort Osage. Please call 816-650-5737 for further information. You can also download (in pdf) the Fort Osage National Historic Landmark nomination.

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