For History Buffs: Fort Wallace Museum in Kansas

Fort Wallace Museum, Kansas© 2009 Vicki FishcerA buffalo sculpted from the barbed wire that transformed the prairie stands at an army post dubbed “the Fightin'est Fort in the West.”

Hwy. 40, Wallace, Kansas

Fort Wallace was one of a string of army posts established to control the Plains Native Americans and protect travelers along the Smoky Hill Trail. Active from 1865 to 1881, it was built for about 500 soldiers and was the busiest bastion in Kansas. Nothing remains of the old fort except the cemetery.

The museum, located about one and a half miles from the fort site, is a treasury of locally found artifacts, plus old military equipment and a painted Native American buffalo robe. It also houses a collection of animal scenes made entirely from barbed wire. Also on view is a Union Pacific depot from Weskan, complete with telegraph, switch equipment, and signal tower.

Open daily May–Sept. Admission free but donations encouraged.

(785) 891-3564

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