“the crossroads of a nation moving west”
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. Located at confluence of the Laramie and North Platte Rivers in southeast Wyoming, this famed outpost -first as a fur trade post and then as a military garrison-played a strategic role in transforming the United States. Here, for 56 years successive waves of trappers, traders, Native Americans, missionaries, emigrants, soldiers, miners, ranchers and homesteaders interacted and left their mark on a place that would become famous in the history of the American west - Fort Laramie.
I know, I know...Why would I go to a stupid Fort? This was actually very interesting and educational. This was a starting point for us in learning about the history of the American take over of the land from the Native Americans (tragic). If you take the time to visit all the forts and National Cemeteries in a multi-state region up here (I know, easier said than done), then you can really piece together the history and see the movement of battles, forts, and conquest in the area. It's worth it if you are a history nerd.
I enjoyed this fort. And let's take a moment to note that at least 2 of the buildings have Wifi! I'll let you figure out which one for yourself. I enjoyed the informative video, as well as going through the various buildings. Allow at least a hour if you want to go through each building.
Very interesting for history of the area and the pioneer trails. The kids enjoyed it too. It can be a quick stop or you can take longer and explore more. Two of my kids are 4th graders in Colorado so had just learned the history of pioneers coming west and it really was great for them to see it in "real life".
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Fort Laramie National Historic Site
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