Reconstructed post headquarters (small building at left) and restored (haunted?) officers quarters
First established in 1842, Fort Scott was built along the Military Road in eastern Kansas along what was then considered the Permanent Indian Frontier. In addition to enforcing peace between the settlers of the westward expansion & the Osage Indians, Fort Scott provided troops for dragoon expeditions through the west and support for the Army of the West in the Mexican War. There was usually one company of infantry and one company of dragoons (mounted infantry) posted to Fort Scott.
Fort Scott was closed in 1853 and the buildings auctioned in 1885 as the "permanent" frontier moved further west. But troops returned to enforce peace between free state and pro slavery groups during the late 1850s of "Bleeding Kansas," and again during the American Civil War. During the Civil War, Fort Scott served as a Quartermaster Supply Depot. There was no combat at the Fort, but Confederate troops passed within 12 miles of Fort Scott in both 1861 and 1864.
The 1st and 2nd Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry Regiments were recruited in eastern Kansas and mustered into the Union Army at Fort Scott. Kansas was the first state to officially recruit and train military units comprised of black soldiers. Many of their graves are in the nearby Fort Scott National Cemetery.
Today there are 18 buildings and a Greek revival well canopy at Fort Scott National Historic Site. Most of the buildings are reconstructed. Portions of other buildings are original. One of the more interesting exhibits is the un-restored Wilson-Goodlander House. Built in 1845 as officers' quarters, the building continued in use as a private residence, a home for needy children and a civic meeting place. Today the un-restored building displays architectural artifacts of its many uses.
Fort Scott National Historic Site is open for self guided tours. Unless you happen on a day when there are costumed interpreters typical visit will probably last a bit over one hour.
Is Fort Scott haunted? When visiting Fort Scott National Historic Site, be sure to keep an eye out for people in period costumes. They will probably be guides, but several people have met people they assumed were costumed guides, that cannot be accounted for. There have been reports of the sighting of a woman's figure in the Officers Quarters, and at other times the sounds of children playing. There have also been reports of soldiers seen in other parts of the grounds when no one in costume was on duty.
copyright 2006-2010 by Keith Stokes