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Montana Forts of the Old West

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Cantonment Jordan

Cantonment Wright

Fort Alexander

Fort Assiniboine #1

Fort Assinniboine

Fort Belknap
Fort Benton

Fort Browning

Fort Campbell

Fort Carroll

Fort Cass

Fort Chardon
Fort Claggett (Camp Cooke)
Fort Conrad

Fort Copelin

Fort Cotton
Fort Custer

Fort Dauphin

Fort Ellis

Fort Fizzle

Fort Fox & Livingston

Fort Galpin

Fort Gilbert

Fort William Henry Harrison

Fort Hawley





Fort Assinniboine

Fort Assinniboine



Fort Henry

Fort Howes

Fort Jackson

Fort Janeaux
Fort Keogh

Fort LaBarge

Fort Lewis
Fort Logan
Fort Maginnis

Fort McKenzie

Fort Missoula

Fort Owen

Fort Parker

Fort Pease

Fort Peck

Fort Piegan

Fort Sarpy

Fort Sarpy II
Fort Shaw
Fort C.F. Smith

Fort Van Buren

Fort William

Howe's House

Judith Landing

Kootenai Post

Lewis and Clark Fort

Reed's Fort

Saleesh House




Fort Keogh, Montana

Fort Keogh




Cantonment Jordan (1859-1860) - Located near DeBorgia, Montana, this was the winter camp for Captain John Muller and his building crew, as they were building the Mullan Road which made its way from Fort Benton, Montana to Walla Walla, Washington.



Cantonment Wright (1861-1862) - Located near Milltown, Montana, this was the winter camp for Captain John Muller and his building crew, as they were building the Mullan Road which made its way from Fort Benton, Montana to Walla Walla, Washington.



Fort Alexander (1842-1850) - Also called Fort Crow by the Blackfoot Indians, who opposed its construction, this non-military post was established in 1842 by fur trader, Charles Larpentuer, on the left bank of the Yellowstone River, opposite the mouth of the Rosebud River. Named for Alexander Culbertson, it replaced Fort Van Buren. It was abandoned in 1850 in favor of Fort Sarpy.


Fort Assiniboine #1 (1834-1835) - A temporary post at a point some distance above Fort Union where the steamer Assiniboine ran aground in the summer of 1834. Owned by the American Fur Company, the Assiniboine was put into service by the company in 1833. The boat was forced to remain through the winter at the mouth of the Poplar River, where the temporary post was established. During the steamboat's return to St. Louis, Missouri a fire broke out, and the vessel, it's cargo of furs and skins, and the natural history collection of Prince Maximillian were all destroyed. Initial plans to make the site an outpost of Fort Union were abandoned in April, 1835.





Buffalo Soldiers at Fort AssinniboineFort Assinniboine (1878-1911) - Following the Black Hills War, the fort, named after the the Assiniboine Indians, was established to ward of any further attacks from the Sioux and Nez Percé.


At the time of its construction, Fort Assinniboine was the most elaborate post in the United States, featuring over 100 buildings and designed to house ten companies of infantry and cavalry. The troops were charged with monitoring the activities of the region's many Indian groups, patrolling Montana's border with Canada, stopping bootleggers and gunrunners and protecting the state's settlers. In its heyday, nearly 750 officers, enlisted men, and civilians called Assiniboine home.


However, with the Indian threat subdued, the fort began to decline. In 1916, a portion of the fort was ceded to the Rocky Boy Indian Reservation (home of the Chippewa Cree tribe.) Later, more land was ceded to Hill County to create Beaver Creek Park, the largest county park in the United States. Unfortunately, most of the buildings at the Fort were razed.

Today, several buildings survive on an agricultural extension station associated with Montana State University. Those structures that are left are located six miles southwest of Havre, Montana on Highway 87.


Fort Belknap (1871-1886) - Beginning as a a trading post, then a station on the Great Northern Railroad, the post was named in honor of Robert L. Belknap. The fort's purpose was to serve as the Indian Agency for the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in the eastern half of Blaine County, which housed the Gros Ventre and Assiniboine Indians. It also served as a sub-agency for the River Crow Indians. Today, it is the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation located in Harlem, Montana.


Old Fort Benton, MontanaFort Benton (1846-1881) - Initially a non-military fort, the site was established as a trading post by Alexander Culbertson of the American Fur Company. In the beginning it contained only a few log buildings, however; Culbertson replaced them using bricks made of Missouri River clay in the fall of 1848. When it was complete, the fort included Culbertson's home, trader's quarters, a warehouse, blacksmith, trade store, kitchen and barn, surrounded by a 20 foot bastion.


In the 1860's as the many gold rushes brought prospectors, traders and homesteaders flooding to the area, the fort did a brisk business. Convoys of freight wagons carried supplies to trade in Canada. However, by 1865, the fur trade had declined and the American Fur Company sold the property to the U.S. Military. By the time the troops finally occupied the site in 1869, it had already begun to deteriorate. Six years later, in 1875, the military abandoned the fort. A decade later, the fort had fallen into ruins.


By 1900 only the crumbling northeast bastion remained of fort. However, in 1908, the Daughters of the American Revolution rescued this last remaining structure, which continues to stand today. Over the years, a number of the other old buildings have been reconstructed including the Trade Store,  the Warehouse, the Blacksmith and Carpenter's Shop, and the main "Sally Port" Gate.  See full article HERE.


More Information:


Historic Old Fort Benton

P.O. Box 262

Fort Benton, Montana  59442




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