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Part of our in-depth series exploring Sioux Nation Forts

North Dakota Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center
P.O. Box 607
Washburn, ND 58577-0607
Phone: 701-462-8535
Fax: 701-462-3316
Toll-free 877-462-8535
Email: [email protected]

The winter headquarters (1804-1805) for the Corps of Discovery was constructed by the Expedition and named after their Native American hosts.

November 20, 1804: "We this day moved into our huts which are now completed. This place which we call Fort Mandan, is situated in a point of low ground, on the north side of the Missouri, covered with tall and heavy cottonwood". Captain Clark

This site, located a few miles downstream from the actual site, is a full-sized reconstruction of the trapezoidal fort.

November 20, 1804: " The works consist of two rows of huts or sheds, forming an angle where they joined each other; each row containing four rooms, of 14 feet square and 7 feet high, with plank ceiling, and the roof slanting so as to form a loft above the rooms, the highest point of which is 18 feet from the ground". Captain Clark

It is here that the adventurers were befriended by the area's Native Americans who taught them how to gather food and cope with the frigid temperatures. Sakakawea's (Hidatsa spelling) son, Baptiste, was also born at the fort.

December 7, 1804: "the Big White Grand Chief of the 1st village, came and informed us that a large Drove of Buffalow was near and his people was waiting for us to join them in a chase."Captain Clark

December 8 - 25, 1804

January 5, 1805: "a Buffalo Dance for 3 nights passed in the 1st Village, a curious custom, all this is to cause the buffalow to Come near So that they may kill." Captain Clark

January 10, 1805: "last night was excessively Cold the Murckery this morning Stood at 40 ° below 0 which is 72° below the freesing point, about 10 oClock the boy about 13 years of age Came to the fort with his feet frosed and had layed out last night without fire with only a Buffalow Robe to Cover him, Customs & the habits of those people has them to bare more Cold than I thought it possible for man to endure." Captain Clark

February 11, 1805: " about five o Clock this evening one of the wives of Charbono (Sakakawea) was delivered of a fine boy." Captain Clark

Location

2 miles west of the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center on McLean County Highway 17

Hours of Operation

Fort Mandan is closed for winter from October 1st to March 31st. It is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10am to 5pm from April through September. Meanwhile, the North Dakota Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center is open all year: 9am to 5pm in the summer and 10am to 5pm in the winter. The site also has a gift store.

Admission to Fort Mandan and Interpretive Center

Adults $8.00
Students (K-College) $5.00
Foundation members and under 5s free.

Fort Mandan is also an event venue capable of hosting as many as 180 guests.

School Tours

To arrange a school field trip to the Interpretive Center and Fort Mandan, call (877) 462-8535. Student admission for prescheduled school tour groups is available.

Group Tours

To arrange a group tour to the Interpretive Center and Fort Mandan, call (877) 462-8535.

Communities and Related Links
Fort Mandan Web Site
Bismarck/Mandan Convention and Visitors Bureau

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Further reading