Yes, the nine buildings around the parade ground are the original buildings, retaining significant portions of their original construction. Significant restoration work has also been done to protect the buildings and to return them to historic conditions. The blockhouse in the southeast corner is the only building that has been entirely reconstructed.
The remaining original buildings were started in 1866 and finished in 1868. Buildings built out of other materials at the fort before and after these structures have not survived.
Most of the stone was quarried about 3 miles east of here, near what is called Lookout or Jenkins Hill, in quarries now on private land.
The vast majority of the graffiti you see on the stone buildings is from visitors who came to the Fort when it was privately owned. There are very rare instances where soldiers carved in the rock. Today, defacing the buildings is prohibited by law.
No. Timber was scarce, making the construction of a stockade impractical. It was also thought that the Pawnee Fork on two sides and its muddy oxbow on a third provided reasonable protection against a direct assault.
That vacant space was intended for a new guardhouse. The foundation was laid, but the building was never completed. The blockhouse was used as a guardhouse instead.
Military planners presumed an attack would come from the open field on the south side of the fort and so concentrated the defenses in that direction. The third building with rifle slits, the Blockhouse, provided 360 degrees of protection.
The Blockhouse was built for defense, but when it proved to be unnecessary, it was converted into the guardhouse, or jail.
The thickness of the walls vary from 2 to 2 ½ feet.
Last updated: March 3, 2023