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Aug 11

Historic Fort Hays

Fort Hays MonumentFort Hays was a western military fort that was created to protect the frontier.  The fort was in operation from 1865 to 1889 and was the one time home to some of the most famous regiments of the west.  For example, the 7th Cavalry, which was led by George Armstrong Custer and the 10th Cavalry, which was one of the original “Buffalo Soldier” regiments.  The old historic fort is a great inexpensive way to learn about history and see what frontier life at a fort would have been like on the Great Plains.Officer's Quarters

Karen and I started our tour in the visitor center where we were each given a card and assigned  the name of a real soldier who had once lived in the fort.  The soldier who I was assigned attacked and shot somebody in town and tried to run away.  He was later caught and went to trial.  Karen’s name was of one of the most beloved colonels at Fort Hays.  The visitor center also had an informative short video called the Clash of Cultures between the Native Americans and settlers moving west.  After the video there was time to look at the exhibits in the building which included Custer’s dumbbells and weapons of the Native Americans as well as the U.S. Cavalry.
Karen is Colonel John E. Yard

We were then taken to the Officers quarters and parade grounds by a tour guide.  She was very nice and answered all of our questions.  We were allowed to go in to the historically decorated quarters and see all the rooms in the houses.  I am glad that they keep the officer’s quarters under lock and key.  It is sad to see some of these wonderful historical places get defaced with tons of graffiti done by careless people who have to let those who come after them know that they were there.  Like those future visitors even care!  After looking at the guardhouse the guide showed us the way to the next stop and the rest of the grounds and buildings were self-guided.
Officer's Home

Karen and I really liked the guardhouse.  We were able to try on some uniforms and hear the stories of soldiers through the fort’s automated mannequins.  The guardhouse also had a couple of touch screen panels that allowed us to hear music of that time period as well as stories and reports from the fort.  The last part of the guardhouse was a post trader’s store.  It is pretty interesting to see all the things that were for sale and the cost of each item.
General Store

The last part of the tour was the blockhouse.  A blockhouse is where the soldiers and families would hole up if there was ever an attack.  Since western Kansas does not have very many trees the fort was not designed with a wall so the blockhouse was built in with firing slots, actual slits in the wall of the building that the soldiers could shot out of if an enemy was approaching.  The fort was never attacked so the firing slots were quickly filled in.
Military Issue

Karen and I highly recommend stopping by Fort Hays if you are ever driving through western Kansas.  There is not a whole lot see out there and it will break up the long drive and let everybody get out and stretch their legs.  The price could easily be higher for how well kept the fort and exhibits are.  Sightseeing at the fort will take you around an hour to an hour and a half and it is well worth it.
Buffalo Soldiers

Historic Fort Hays
Located at 1472 Hwy 183 Alt Hays, Kansas
Hours of Operation 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday closed on all state holidays
Cost as of 2011 $3 for adults and $1 for students
For more information check out their site at http://www.kshs.org/portal_fort_hays
Soldiers

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1 comment

  1. Cecilia

    Looks like you guys had lots of fun in Fort Hays. Who would of thought in our own back yard?

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