a military post
located near present-day St. Paul
In 1805, Lieutenant Zebulon
Pike purchased 100,000
acres of land at the confluence of the
Mississippi and Minnesota rivers with the
intention of establishing a trading post.
Significant settlement of the area did not begin
until the late 1810's, however, when the U.S.
Department of War began building a chain of forts
between Lake Michigan and the Missouri River.
Fort Saint Anthony was built on "Pike's
Purchase" between 1820 and 1824. Upon its
completion in 1825, the Army renamed the fort in
honor of its architect and first commander,
Colonel Josiah Snelling (who commanded the fort
until poor health forced him to leave in 1827). Due to its location, Fort
Snelling was a vital, and often busy, frontier
outpost through the first half of the 19th
century. The growth of St. Paul and Minneapolis
lessened the need for a fort, however, and the
Army sold it to Franklin Steele in 1858.
During the Civil
War, Steele leased Fort Snelling back to the
War Department for use as an induction and
training station for Minnesota recruits. The fort
was also used as a supply base for the Dakota
Territory, as well as "housing" for the
hundreds of Dakota women, children, and elders
captured during the Indian Campaigns.
Minneapolis began to expand into the area
around Fort Snelling after the war, but the fort
itself remained under Army control through the Spanish-American
War I, and World
War II. Over 300,000 inductees were processed
through Fort Snelling through World War II,
during which it also served as the headquarters
of the Military Intelligence Service Language
Fort Snelling was decommissioned on October
14, 1946, and given to the Veterans
Administration. It continued to serve as
headquarters of the U.S. Army Reserve 205th
Infantry Brigade, however, until 1994. In 1960,
Fort Snelling became Minnesota's first National
Historic Landmark. Since then, Historic Fort
Snelling has been rebuilt and maintained by both
private and public funding, and is currently
managed by the Minnesota Historical Society.
Historic Fort Snelling's official website is http://www.historicfortsnelling.org/.
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