Explore an Authentic Indian Wars Era Fort

Fort Larned National Historic Site 

Step Back in Time

Smoke billows from a small artillery piece that has just been fired by re-enactors.
Volunteers and staff recreate the sights and sounds of a frontier Army post during the fort's living history weekends.


Walk across the bridge from the parking lot and step back in time.  Exprience a world where western Kansas was still the frontier and the Army's job was to protect travelers and settlers from the Plains Indians who roamed a land they thought of as their own.

Meet the Ladies of the Post

Woman in blue dresses uses wash tub and washboard to do laundry.
Doing laundry the old-fashioned way.


Frontier Army posts were like small communities.  Although the enlisted men and their officers made up the bulk of the "population", there were also women and civilians living on these, sometimes remote, outposts.

While officers wives would definitely be at the top of the due to their social class, company laundresses were actually the only women officially recognized by the Army.  They received quarters, daily rations and fuel and in return they kept the uniforms of approximately 20 enlisted men clean.

Their job was taken from a practice by the British Army and started in the U.S. Army in the early 1820s.  It lasted until the 1870s, when the practice was discontinued.  Their pay, which amounted to about $40 dollars a month, came directly from the pay of the enlisted men for whom they washed clothes.

Last updated: April 6, 2015