Fort Ridgely

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Picture of Fort Ridgely

Fort Ridgely Historic Site
72404 County Road 30
Fairfax, MN 55332
Phone: 507-426-7888 or 507-934-2160

In 1853, the U.S. military started construction on Fort Ridgely, near the southern border of the new reservation and northwest of the German settlement of New Ulm. The fort was designed as a police station to keep peace as settlers poured into the former Dakota lands.

Picture of the Execution of the 38 Sioux Indians at Mankato in December 1862
Execution of the 38 Sioux Indians at Mankato in December 1862. Photo from the book, Encyclopedia of American Indian Wars, by Jerry Keenan.

Nine years later, unkept promises by the U.S. government, nefarious practices by fur traders and crop failure all helped create tensions that erupted into the U.S.-Dakota war in August 1862. Dakota forces attacked the fort twice-on Aug. 20 and Aug. 22. The fort that had been a training base and staging ground for Civil War volunteers suddenly became one of the few military forts west of the Mississippi to withstand a direct assault. Fort Ridgely's 280 military and civilian defenders held out until Army reinforcements ended the siege.

Picture of Fort Ridgely
Picture from the book, Encyclopedia of Indian Wars, by Gregory F.Michno.

Summer only

Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Open Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Labor Day - Oct 15: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Saturday, noon - 5 p.m. Sunday

School season may vary.


$2 adults; $2 senior citizens, and free for children under 18 and MHS members. State park vehicle permits are required.

Connumities and Related Links
Minnesota Historical Society/Fort Ridgely
Fort Ridgely State Park

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