Mandan, and other tribes traded
robes and other furs for trade goods such as beads, guns, blankets,
knives, cookware, and cloth.
During its heydays
the trading post employed as many as 200 people, mostly Métis
of French and
rivers were the main source of travel for the fur traders, primarily
utilizing keelboats until 1832 when the first steamboat, the Yellowstone
landed here. Mackinaw boats were another form of travel made by the
workers of the fort and bull boats, constructed by the tribes out of a
hide and willow, were also used.
In 1867, Fort Union
was sold to the U.S. Army and the post was razed. Its building
materials were used to construct
Fort Buford about two miles away.
The site of the longest running
Company trading post in
history then lay abandoned and largely neglected for a century.
However, in 1966,
local interest in the historical site led Congress to establish the
Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site as a part of the
National Park System. After three archaeological projects, the trading
post was partially reconstructed from 1986 to 1989 with structures
appearing as they did in 1850-1851.
Today, the reconstructed Fort Union
represents a unique era in
American history, a brief period when two
different civilizations found common ground and mutual benefit through
commercial exchange and cultural acceptance.
A trip to Fort Union
takes visitors back in time to the mid-19th century, the heyday of Fort
Union and the fur trade on the Upper Missouri
Fort Union is located
just off ND Highway 1804, 25 miles southwest of Williston or 24 miles
northeast of Sidney,
The confluence of the
Missouri and Yellowstone
Department of Tourism