Built Where the First One Stood

The Reconstruction Process

by Fred MacVaugh, Museum Curator

 

Begun with the flagpole in 1985, Fort Union continued its rise from the ground in the winter of 1986-1987. National Park Service (NPS) archeological excavations led by Dr. William Hunt that summer had uncovered and documented the Bourgeois, or Post Manager’s House. Reconstructed after the excavations, the new Bourgeois House, which doubled as a visitor center, opened in the summer of 1987. Two years later, the Dr. Hunt-led NPS excavations completed, the post’s bastions and palisade walls rose where the originals had stood from 1833 through 1867. The reconstruction work planned and designed by historical architect Richard Cronenberger wrapped up in 1993, when the Indian Trade House, begun in 1991, opened to the public. The photographs in the gallery show the reconstruction’s progress as well as the foundations the reconstruction emerged from.

 
Fort Union's 1989 Grand Dedication celebration. In the right foreground, the Trade House has yet to

Fort Union's 1989 Grand Dedication

Fort Union's 1989 Grand Dedication celebration. In the right foreground, the Trade House has yet to be built.

Archeological field crew for Fort Union's 1969-1970 excavations.

Archeological Field Crew

The archeological field crew for Fort Union's 1969-1970 excavations.

The 1988 excavations in the fort's southwest corner.

Fort Union Excavation

The 1988 excavations in the fort's southwest corner.

Dignitaries visit the 1989 Fort Union archeological excavations.

Dignitaries at Archeological Excavations

Lord Astor's August 1989 visit to the Fort Union archeological excavations.

The Bourgeois House excavations in 1986.

Bourgeois House Excavations

The Bourgeois House excavations in 1986.

The northeast bastion and north palisade wall foundations after excavation.

Excavation of Bastion and Palisade Wall

The northeast bastion and north palisade wall foundations after excavation.

The northeast bastion under construction in 1989. The east palisade wall is completed.

Construction of Northeast Bastion

The northeast bastion under construction in 1989. The east palisade wall is completed.

Stone masons laying the stone veneer on one of the bastions.

Stone Veneer on Bastion

Stone masons laying the stone veneer on one of the bastions.

Historical architect Richard Cronenberger and Fort Union maintenance chief Orville Loomer, 1988.

Richard Cronenberger and Orville Loomer

Historical architect Richard Cronenberger and Fort Union maintenance chief Orville Loomer, 1988.

Looking west, the reconstructed foundations for the north palisade wall.

Foundation of Palisade Wall

Looking west, the reconstructed foundations for the north palisade wall.

The southeast section of palisade wall under construction in 1989.

Construction of Palisade Wall

The southeast section of palisade wall under construction in 1989.

The Trade House under construction in 1991.

Construction of Trade House

The Trade House under construction in 1991.

Building the Trade House roof in 1991.

Building the Trade House Roof

Building the Trade House roof in 1991.

Last updated: April 19, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

15550 Highway 1804
Williston, ND 58801

Phone:

(701) 572-9083

Contact Us