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Historic Forts

Kansas fort history begins with the setting up of temporary military quarters called cantonment Leavenworth in 1827. Many fort occupations were short, but some are still in existence today. Their archeological artifacts present a unique window on peace keeping in Kansas and expansion on the Plains and points west. Collections available for research include large assemblages from Forts Zarah, Hays, Ellsworth, and Harker and smaller ones from Forts Scott, Dodge, Aubrey, Wallace, and Belmont.

C. W. Gail and Ax Tobacco Works snuff jarThis C. W. Gail and Ax Tobacco Works snuff jar, dated between 1882 and 1884, was recovered from Fort Hays.











Epaulets and insignias Marks of a soldier: epaulets and insignia recovered from Fort Hays (1865 - 1889).







Cartridge casesA soldier's job: cartridge cases, lead ball, and lead bullets recovered from Fort Wallace (1865 - 1882) and Fort Hays (1865 - 1889).




Cartridge cases







Archeological References  - Fort Zarah

Fort Zarah, 1867 A sketch of the crossing at Fort Zarah in 1867.







Hearth at Fort Zarah excavation

A hearth is exposed during excavation at Fort Zarah in 1972. 14BT301-72






Archeological References - Fort Hays

Fort Hays An excavation at Fort Hays in 1966 reveals a mass of bottle fragments.







Fort Hays excavation An excavation in 1998 reveals the base of the flagpole on Fort Hays' parade ground.





Archeological References - Fort Ellsworth

Fort Ellsworth excavation Excavation (1996) at the Kansas Archeology Training Program of one of Fort Ellsworth's dugout depressions.






Fort Ellsworth excavation A collapsed bakery oven is revealed during excavation of one of the dugouts at Fort Ellsworth (1996).












Archeological References - Fort Harker

Fort Harker Fort Harker Officer's Quarters (1996).







Fort Harker excavation One of the Fort Harker building foundations excavated during the Kansas Archeology Training Program in 1996.






Fort Harker foundation A view of the foundations of the guardhouse at Fort Harker exposed during excavation in 1996.





Archeological References - Fort Scott

Fort Scott illustration Photograph of Fort Scott during its occupation showing the hospital.






Fort Scott during occupation Photograph of Fort Scott during its occupation showing Officer's Row.





Archeological References - Fort Dodge

Fort Dodge, 1879 Officer's Quarters and hospital (looking to the southwest) taken in 1879.






Fort Dodge hospital View of Fort Dodge's hospital taken in 1996 with marker dated 1867.






Fort Dodge excavation A wall of the trench excavation in 1996.






Archeological References - Fort Aubrey

Fort Aubrey dugout View of dugout depressions used at Fort Aubrey.











Archeological References - Fort Wallace

Fort Wallace, circa 1879 Sketch of Fort Wallace circa 1879







Fort Wallace excavation Archeological excavation at Fort Wallace (1997).







Fort Wallace excavation Excavation of guardhouse foundation at Fort Wallace (1997).











Archeology Collections

Entry: Historic Forts

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: June 2014

Date Modified: December 2014

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.