Fort Hays Museum

LASR - Kansas Forts - Fort HaysFort Hays was an important US Army post which was active from 1865 until 1889. Troops from Fort Hays protected the stage and freight wagons using the Smoky Hill Trail to Denver, and construction workers who were building the Union Pacific Railroad. The original blockhouse, guardhouse, and officers quarters are located here as well as exhibits interpreting pioneer and military history.

Located on US-183 Alternate, four miles south of I-70.

Open Year Round

Hours:
Sunday & Monday 1p - 5p
Tuesday - Saturday 9a -5p

785-625-6812
Email: thefort@dailynews.net

Free Admission, Donations Accepted

After the fort was virtually destroyed in a flash flood in 1867, it was relocated to a site now just south of the city of Hays. Unlike the typical military posts of the earlier eastern frontier, there was no stockade or fortification wall. Instead, officers quarters, barracks , headquarters, storehouses, and other buildings grouped around a parade ground constituted the outline of the new Fort Hays.

A stone blockhouse, hexagonal in shape with two wings extending north and south, was equipped with rifle slits, but the fort was never attacked, and the building was actually used as a post headquarters and adjutant's quarters for the officer of the guard, a guard room, and a prison room with three cells, except for a small bakery, all other buildings - officer quarters, married enlisted men's quarters, barracks, hospital storehouses, and other housekeeping buildings were of frame construction.

Garrison strength at Fort Hays normally averaged three companies, or about 210 men. Fort Hays was home to the 7th U.S. Cavalry, commanded by Lt. Col. George A. Custer, the 5th U.S. Infantry, commanded by Col. Nelson Miles, and the 9th and 10th U.S. Cavalries, better known as the Buffalo Soldier. Marcus A. Reno, George A. Forsyth, and Philip H. Sheridan were also among the noted military figures associated with the fort.

In 1867, Hays City was staked out a mile to the east, and with the arrival of the railroad in October, the fortunes of Hays City and Fort Hays became almost inseparable. The military post was turned into a quartermaster depot which supplied other forts throughout the West and Southwest. Such an operation required a large number of civilian as well as military personnel, and Hays City consequently experienced rapid development.

 

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