Fort Laramie National Historic Site
©National Park Service
Fort Laramie Barracks represented a welcome sight for pioneers, and today
serves as a reminder of frontier life.
In the 1840s, the fort became an oasis for pioneers following the
In 1849, the federal government bought the fort and made it a military outpost. Soldiers built quarters, stables, and other buildings around a central parade ground. The fort was an important spot for peace councils, and sometimes up to 100 tipis surrounded it. The fort was a bustling center, described by one female traveler in 1866 as "a scene of seeming confusion not surpassed in any popular, overcrowded store of
When the Park Service acquired the 833-acre site in 1938, many of the buildings were dilapidated or in ruins. A dozen of these structures have been restored to their historic appearance, including the trader's store, the surgeon's quarters, and the cavalry barracks. The most handsome building is "Old Bedlam," a white, balconied structure built in 1849 to house the bachelor officers. It was the center of social life at the fort and a popular site for parties, which probably accounts for the nickname "Bedlam."
Hours of Operation: Park grounds are open from dawn until dusk every day of the year. The visitor center is open daily at , with extended hours during summer.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Eric Peterson is a Denver-based author who has contributed to numerous guidebooks about the