Joe and Nancy

Joe and Nancy
Our Home on Wheels (Click on image above for our web albums.)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Fort Laramie National Historic Site

We arrived at Fort Laramie on Sunday, June 30, around 3 in the afternoon.
From Wiki:  Fort Laramie (originally founded as Fort William and then known for a while as Fort John) was a significant 19th century trading post and diplomatic site located at the confluence of the Laramie River and the North Platte River in the upper Platte River Valley in the eastern part of the U.S. state of Wyoming. Founded in the 1830s to service the overland fur trade during the middle 19th century, it sat at the bottom of the long climb leading to the best and lowest crossing point at South Pass into western descending valleys and so was a primary stopping point on the Oregon Trail. Along with Bent's Fort on the Arkansas River, the trading post and its supporting industries and businesses were the most significant economic hub of commerce in the region.
Nancy took this shot out the window of the motor home somewhere before we arrived at Fort Laramie.
She took this shot also, at the Fort.  It was a very warm (90+) day, and humid.  So, our walking tour would be brief & slow.  Conestoga wagons were the SUVs of the time.  From Wiki: The Conestoga wagon is a heavy, covered wagon that was used extensively during the late 18th century and the 19th century in the United States and Canada. It was large enough to transport loads up to 8 tons (7 metric tons), and was drawn by horses, mules or oxen. It was designed to help keep its contents from moving about when in motion and to aid it in crossing rivers and streams, though it sometimes leaked unless caulked.
This is a pic of a poster in the visitor center.
Front of the barracks, first floor porch-like area.
Front of the barracks, with the Conestoga wagon to the left.
A little explanation on the barracks.
First floor inside of barracks, where chow was served.  Photo taken thru glass...below is the living quarters second floor.  Sorry about the warning tape on the glass.
Remains of the post hospital.
This is a pic of the restored officer's quarters duplex. 
Remnants of one of the officers quarters.  There were originally three of these.
I never realized how significant the fur & hide trade really was, and the importance of the trade in establishing the western frontier and eventual settling of the great plains & western US.
The remnants of the admin building and other post offices.
Back of the guard house and post jail.
Inside the jail, this is a pic of the original foundation of the jail.
In the background is the original (not used now) bridge used to cross over the Platte River to the Fort area.
The post bakery.  It is still used today, except for one of the two ovens is no longer used.  They had to remove one of them as over the years they get cracks from all the heating/cooling cycles.  Still, it is amazing that one still works.  This young man (ranger) gave us quite a history lesson in the everyday making of the post's bread.  The bread not only fed the population here, but alos provided provisions for folks traveling to & fro from the Post.
Above, the working oven, below the vacant area where the other oven was.
Above, fresh bread (24 hours old, as warm bread was not consumed as it was considered not healthy).
IEEE recognized the accomplishment of the first continental telegraph that passed thru the post.  And that spelled the end of the famous Pony Express, which also passed thru here, at least for letter-type transfers.
Not much has changed with regard to young soldiers, their desires to see new frontiers, and the parents of those warriors, who have seen their own frontiers mostly already, and the mixed emotions that are still so prevalent today.  I guess not much has changed when it comes to human natures.
The bridge is for walking traffic only these days.
I must admit, as Nancy would agree, we were pleasantly surprised about Fort Laramie.  I think we both had vaguely remembered reading about it perhaps somewhere in our collective pasts, but it just doesn't mean a lot until you've witnessed first hand the evidences of the history and the significance in the forming of our great USA.  I guess that's what traveling this beautiful country is all about and learning the hardships our ancestors went thru to seek a new beginning and to see the next horizon.  So, till the next blog, from Coeur d' Alene, ID, RVing Beach Bums blogging our way to Alaska.