If you love old west history, Fort Laramie Wyoming National Historic Site is a must-stop on your trip through Wyoming.
Grace loves history, especially Old West history and she is sharing a little bit about our trip to Fort Laramie National Historic Site.
Fort Laramie National Historic Site
On the trip home from seeing family in Oregon, I was asked to pick a few places to visit on our way back to Oklahoma.
One of the places I really want to visit was Fort Laramie. My mom initially thought it was a wonderful idea as we drove right through Laramie.
However, I had to explain to her that Laramie, Wyoming, and Fort Laramie, were two different places in Wyoming and were actually over an hour from each other.
We agreed that Fort Laramie sounded like an interesting place to visit and since we had never driven through that part of Wyoming, we decided to detour off our normal route to visit the Fort Laramie National Historic Site.
I loved visiting Fort Laramie. It was so much fun and I learned a lot.
Fort Laramie Was a Stop On the Oregon Trail
I have read much about it from the Oregon Trail to Old West Novels to even some TV shows. I love reading about the old west, but I wanted to experience the actual place.
The Fort Laramie Historical Site was a lot bigger than I imagined.
It was also better done than I expected.
There were quite a few buildings still standing and that had been redone.
Fort Laramie History
Fort Laramie was built in 1834 and was initially called Fort William. It was a trading post that had a near-monopoly on the buffalo trade.
A larger adobe fort was built in 1841 and was named Fort John. Native American tribes traded buffalo hides for goods and in the fall the hides and furs were sent back east.
Eventually, Fort John became a popular stop for those heading west to Oregon, California, and the Salt Lake area.
In 1849, the US Army bought Fort John in order to establish a military presence along the trails heading west.
The official name became Fort Laramie, and it was a military post for forty years.
The army constructed quarters for soldiers and officers.
It also constructed a bakery, a guardhouse, and many other buildings that allowed it to function as a military fort.
It quickly grew in size and became an important military post on the plains.
Fort Laramie is now a National Historic Site run by the National Park Service.
They have done a great job preserving the buildings and land that the fort stood on.
Some of the buildings are open for a walk-through. They are filled with furniture and personal belongings just like they would have been in the 1800s.
As you walk along the trail, you can also see remnants of buildings that are no longer standing.
You can see the North Platte River and the view that those that traveled west would have seen years ago. You can also walk down to the Platte River and over the bridge that was built the year before Custer’s Last Stand.
The main visitor area was a little small but well done. They had a video that played giving the history of Fort Laramie. We did not have a lot of time, so we didn’t stay for that as I have watched some documentary stuff on it. There is also an audio tour that you can buy, which we also skipped as we do not mind touring ourselves.
The best part of the visitor area was the books. There were so many. I also asked one of the Park Rangers there for book recommendations, and he was very helpful. He gave me so many recommendations. It was wonderful, and I wish I could have bought more books. I also wish I had recorded all the information about the books that he gave.
He also said that they had fewer books than normal, meaning I would love to be there when they were fully stocked.
These are a few of the books that we left with. Between my mom, dad, brother, and, I left with quite a few.
Overall, the fort and visitor center was well laid out.
You can get the feel of what the fort was really like. There several Park Rangers who are placed around and will give a friendly chat, and you can ask questions.
There is a whole bunch of information on plaques scattered around the fort.
The views of Wyoming are also stunning. Of course, I am biased as I say I would go live in Wyoming if I ever leave Oklahoma.
I also enjoyed that there is a cemetery on the road to the Fort. We visited it, and there are many older graves and also veterans there.
So if you are ever driving through Wyoming, Fort Laramie, the historical site is a great place to visit, especially if you love the Old West.