Fort Scott, Kansas
Fort Scott, Kansas
Fort Scott is a pivotal point in the history of Bleeding Kansas and the Oregon and Santa Fe Trails. Spend a day learning the history and exploring this small Midwestern Town just 1-1 1/2 hours south of Kansas City.
First Stop: Fort Scott National Historic SiteFort Scott National Historic Site: 660.223.0310
Admission: $3/ea for ages 16 and up. Children are free.
Hours: Fort Scott National Historic Site is open year round from 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. April-October and 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. from November-March. It is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day.
Tours: Tours are self-guided with a wonderful narrated "cell phone tour." Bring your phone along and dial in to hear interpretations in each of the sixteen buildings.
History: Fort Scott was established and garrisoned by the U.S. Army from 1842-1853, and again during the Civil War. The fort was named for Lieutenant General Winfield Scott, who was General-in-Chief of the U.S. Army. The soldiers of Fort Scott played an important role in American History. First, they served to keep peace between white settlers and native peoples like the Osage. The American Government had promised a "permanent Indian frontier," and the soldiers of Fort Scott were there to enforce that promise. Within a few years, settlers began to travel the Oregon and Santa Fe Trails, and troops guarded caravans as they traveled West. Then, as the Mexican-American War Fort Scott sent troops to battle. Fort Scott was also a pivotal point in the story of Bleeding Kansas as conflict erupted between Missouri and Kansas prior to the Civil War. Fort Scott was rebuilt during the Civil War and once again became an important military post. The fort was a large storage facility for Union supplies and the 1st Kansas Colored Infantry, one of the Union Army’s African-American regiments, was assigned to Fort Scott in 1863.
As you tour the Fort, you'll learn about the life of soldiers and note distinct differences in the living conditions of infantrymen and officers. The tour includes a field hospital where you learn about pre-Civil War military medical care, the prison with early lessons in crime and punishment, the bakehouse and kitchen were meals were mass produced for the troops, and the living quarters, stables, barracks, guardhouse, parade ground, and museum complete with historical exhibits.
This tour is highly recommended for grade school students studying early American History. The historic artifacts, buildings, and narration bring to life and oft overlooked period in America's History and portray Kansas' role in shaping the West.
Fort Scott National Historic Site Photo Gallery: You must have a Shockwave Media Player installed to view.
Second Stop: Fort Scott Trolley
Location:Fort Scott Visitor Information Center, 231 E. Wall, Fort Scott, Kansas. 620.223.3566 Visit the Fort Scott Trolley Site for more information.
Hours: Friday and Saturday: 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 12 p.m. (with advance reservation), 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.
What You'll See: Enjoy a narrated Trolley Tour to learn the history of Fort Scott. The tour includes the history of the town. Learn about famous artists like Albert Bigelow Paine, Victorian mansions and homes, Fort Scott National Historic Site, the National Cemetery, and much more. At one time, Fort Scott was home to three brick factories producing 100,000 bricks weekly. Cobblestone roads still line several of the roads, making for a bumpy and educational ride.
Third Stop: Fort Scott Cemetery
Location: 900 East National Avenue. 620.223.2840. Open daily from dawn to dusk.
What You'll See: Fort Scott National Cemetery is one of 14 original national cemeteries designated by President Lincoln as burial grounds for soldiers. Burials in Fort Scott National Cemetery include many Civil War casualties, including 13 Confederate soldiers, 63 Colored Troops and 16 Indian Troops. The Cemetery has also designated graves for WW2 flight crews where the individual bodies could not be identified, and memorial markers honoring veterans whose remains have not been recovered or identified, were buried at sea, donated to science, or cremated and the ashes scattered.
Fourth Stop: Shopping Fort Scott
What You'll Find: Downtown Fort Scott offers unique shops housed in Victorian shops. Antiques, furniture, home décor, clothing, arts and crafts, jewelry, boutiques and regional retailers. Every Wednesday and Saturday morning enjoy shopping at the local Farmers' Market for fresh produce.
Family Friendly Dining in Fort Scott
Aunt Toadies: 1411 E Wall St., 620.223.5007. We enjoyed a nice lunch in this family owned restaurant. The menu includes traditional home cooking, fish 'n chips and sandwiches and the prices were reasonable. The restaurant was named for a beloved Aunt whose nickname was Toadie. A collection of frogs and toads decorate the interior.
Nu Grille Cafe: 24 North National Ave. 620.223.9949.The NuGrille Cafe is an old-fashioned diner. Burgers, homemade fries (with skin), and ice cream are their specialty. My girls loved the chocolate milkshake.
More Choices: The Fort Scott Visitor's Bureau offers this guide to local restaurants.
More MoKan Day Trips & Vacations!
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- 1 Hour Northeast: Lexington: Civil War in Missouri
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- 4-5 Hours South: Branson: Vacation Capital of the Midwest
- 4-5 Hours East: St. Louis: Gateway to the West Kansas
- 20-30 Min. West: Bonner Springs: Be a Kid for a Day
- 30-45 Min. South: Louisburg: Apples, Autumn, and Astronomy
- 30-45 Min. West: Lawrence: Eclectic College Town & Family Fun
- 45-60 Min. Northwest: Atchison: History & Mystery
- 60-90 Min. West: Topeka: More than a Capital City
- 3 1/2-4 Hours Southwest: Hutchinson: Soar to Outer Space