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About - Fort Fred Steele

Description:

This frontier Army post that served as a hub for both the military and Wyoming’s lumber and livestock industries, is located just off I-80 at Exit 228. This frontier Army post has a fascinating history interlacing transportation with the military and the growth of the lumber and livestock industries in Wyoming. Fort Fred Steele State Historic Site is administered by the Division of State Parks, Historic Sites and Trails, Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources. Please visit wyoparks.state.wy.us for more information.

A View into the Past

Today many of the foundations are visible but very few structures are intact. Fort Steele State Historic Site offers an excellent opportunity for the preservation and interpretation of Wyoming’s diverse cultural heritage. Although the number of structures has declined over the years what remains standing is living testimony to the flourishing and subsequent passing of several frontiers.


History:

Fort Fred Steele was established on June 20, 1868, and occupied until August 7, 1886, by soldiers who were sent by the U.S. Government to guard the railroad against attack from Indians.

Colonel Richard I Dodge, selected this site on the west bank of the North Platte River, named the fort for Major General Frederick Steele, 20th U.S. Infantry, a Civil War hero. Although the fort at first resembled a tent city the quartermaster quickly built the fort according to Army specifications by using local materials and labor. In fact, many of the 300 troops received extra pay for their help with this effort. Key civilians who were also employed at the post included a sawmill engineer, blacksmith, saddler and wheelwright. Like many other frontier outposts, the military relied, too, upon a licensed trader or sutler to supply fresh produce and mercantile goods for its personnel and dependents. After the Indian threat had passed, the War Department deactivated the post leaving only a guard to oversee this federal property.

The construction of the transcontinental Union Pacific Railroad across southern Wyoming in 1867-1869, in turn, brought the cattlemen, sheepherders, loggers, tie hacks, miners and merchants who in turn ushered in the modern era of the automobile and the mighty Lincoln Highway all of which played a part in changing the Wyoming Territory into the 44th state in the Union.

 
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Site Status

 

 We are open! Please view our hours to find a good time to visit!

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Hours

 

Fort Steele is open daily from 9 AM to 7 PM.

Season

  • May 1st through November 15th.
  • Site is closed from November 16th through April 30th.