This is an opportunity to see the fort up close, with living-history activities presented throughout the historic garrison. There will be speakers, retreat ceremony, a fine meal, annual Fort Larned Old Guard meeting, election of board members and officers, and an educational music program.
Superintendent Kevin McMurry and the entire staff of the Fort, many dedicated volunteers, and the officers and board of the Old Guard will be there to welcome you and help you enjoy your visit to the best preserved frontier fort in the West. Please make plans to be there and register soon.
Christmas Open House December 10, 2011
by George Elmore, Chief Ranger
The annual Christmas Open House at Fort Larned National Historic Site will be Saturday, December 10, 1:00-7:00 p.m. Everyone is invited to participate and enjoy three special scenes portraying a variety of historic Christmas activities. The tour guides will be dressed in 1860s' clothing, giving tours every 15 minutes through scenes much like the evening candlelight tours. We hope to give you a look at how Christmas was celebrated here in 1868.
The three vignettes are Christmas on Officers' Row in the recently-completed North Officers' Quarters, Enlisted Men's Christmas in the Barracks, and Christmas for the Sick at the Hospital. In addition, the shops building will be included in the Christmas tour. This building would not have been decorated for Christmas in 1868 and will not be decorated this year.
Snacks will be available in the Visitor Center for visitors to taste, made by volunteers following 1860s' recipes. At 5:30 the scenes will be shut down, and everyone will gather for a Christmas Party in the Post Hospital from 6-7 p.m., ending with a visit from Santa. Even if you cannot make it out during the day, get into the Christmas Spirit and come out for the Christmas Party. We hope to see you at the fort on December 10.
Stories of the Indian Wars along the Santa Fe Trail. Visit the most complete fort surviving from the days when Custer and Buffalo Bill Cody were here. Original buildings, a visitor center and National Park Ranger being the story of this turbulent era to life.
Fort Larned National Historic Site had its 150th anniversary with special events and commemorations throughout 2009.
As the best preserved Indian Wars military post on the Santa Fe Trail, Fort Larned is one of the most compelling places to tell the story of the nation's westward expansion, a turbulent era of two cultures fighting for control of the West. For the Plains Indians, it is a story of fighting for home lands in the face of overwhelming numbers and superior weapons. For the military, it is a tale of hard fought battles and skirmishes. Some were won, others were lost, but in the end it's a tale of "Winning the West."
Fort Larned, Kansas:
Established as Camp on Pawnee Fork in October of 1859 and later named Camp Alert and then Fort Larned, this military post helped protect the Santa Fe Trail and the railroad that replaced it, was an important post throughout the Civil War, and was actively involved in the Indian Wars during and after the Civil War. The post was abandoned in 1878. As you enter Fort Larned National Historic Site today, keep in mind that you are stepping back into the late 1860s. Imagine what life was like here during those years. Enjoy your visit.
Protecting You and The Fort:
Occasionally restoration or maintenance require closing part or all of an area or building due to work-site hazards. Please respect all closure signs. Watch for non standard steps and uneven footing throughout the Fort.
The irreplaceable historic building of Fort Larned are closed to smoking or any other activity that could destroy or damage them. Much of the carving on the walls dates from the early days of the Fort and is historic, carving today damages historic values and is prohibited by federal law. All plants and animals are also protected.
Parking spaces are provided for the mobility impaired near the visitor center, which is accessible by wheelchair. Accessibility improvements are ongoing. Check with a park ranger if you have further needs.
Start your visit with the 10 minute slide program at the visitor center to enhance your enjoyment of the historic site.
View clothing, weapons and equipment used by the Fort Larned Soldiers and Plains Indians. Exhibits also include displays on medical items, post sutler, and civilians who lived at the Fort.
Books, recorded music and gifts available in the visitor center reflect a wide variety of western subjects -- including the Santa Fe Trail, Military, Plains Indians, Pioneer Life and Great Plains Natural History. Postcards, video tapes and replica historic pieces are offered. There are books and other items specifically for children.
Living History Programs:
Join our living history staff to experience the sights , sounds and smells of 1860's Fort Larned through talks and demonstrations on frontier life. When available, "living historians" staff the Infantry Barracks, Post Blacksmith Shop, Commissary, Officers; Quarters, Bakery, Schoolhouse and Hospital.
During the summer and Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays, a variety of talks or programs are offered at designated areas on the grounds.
Check at the visitor center information desk for more information. Living History activities are demonstrated on weekends from 9:30 to 4:00 from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
The "Living History Staff" & "Park Rangers" will be happy to answer any questions you may have about life at Old Fort Larned. Enjoy your visit!
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