Fort Abercrombie State Historic Site
P.O. Box 148
Abercrombie, ND 58001
Fort Abercrombie was established on August 28, 1858, on the Red River
in Dakota Territory by Lieutenant Colonel John J. Abercrombie. Because
of the threat of flooding, the fort was moved to its present location
on the eastern edge of present-day Abercrombie, Richland County, in
1859. It was the first permanent United States military fort established
in what was to become North Dakota and was also the only post in the
area besieged by Sioux warriors for more than six weeks during the Dakota
Conflict of 1862.
During the Dakota Conflict, volunteer troops manned the fort when area
settlers sought shelter there. The "regular" army troops had
been withdrawn during the Civil War and had been replaced by the Minnesota
Volunteer Infantry. The fort was not protected by a palisade during
the siege, but one was constructed soon afterward.
The fort served to guard wagon trains and steamboat traffic on the
Red River and was also a supply base for wagon trains headed to the
Montana border. It was at the crossroads of several major transportation
routes throughout the northern plains until its abandonment in 1877.
Currently, County Road #44 runs through the center of the forth-two
acre site before crossing the Red River into Minnesota. Fort Abercrombie
State Historic Site is divided into two parts: the first includes recreational
facilities and a local museum, and the second is the actual historic
site. A reconstructed stockade, three reconstructed block-houses, and
one original fort guard-house stand on the site. A cast aluminum marker
mounted on a fieldstone monument is located on the east side of the
parking lot in the center of the grounds. This parking lot is accessible
from the county road.
Visitors can rent audiotapes at the museum for a walking tour of the
Fort Abercrombie State Historic Site is free and open year round. The
museum is open May 16 to September 15 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (CDT) Wednesday-Sunday.
There is an admission charge for the museum.
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