Fort Larned, Kansas | A Go-There Field Trip!

Over the weekend, Grampa Tom had some time off so we took off for Dodge, Kansas to go to a farm show. It was interesting, saw some equipment we hadn’t seen before and even picked up a¬†nifty cloud chart so I can unschool myself about one of my favorite activities, cloud watching. But, this post isn’t about that, I just wanted to be able to tell you all that we decided to “get out of Dodge”! ūüėČ

We headed for Larned (where we had spied an old fort on our way down) so Grampa Tom could unschool himself about one of his favorite¬†subjects, military life! Just because our kids are all grown doesn’t mean we’ve stopped homeschooling!

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Fort Larned was established in 1859 as one of several military posts set up to protect the Santa Fe Trail. We’ve been to several old forts but this was the first one that didn’t have a huge wall and moat around it. Most of the buildings faced inward, but there was no outer wall. Surprise attacks were probably pretty uncommon in this part of Kansas where you can see for miles!

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At other times of the year, there’s a lot going on here, but the day we went, there were only two park rangers and us so, we got to take a leisurely tour! The first buildings we toured were the officers quarters. If an officer had a family, they were given two rooms, one for sleeping and one for a living area. My pictures aren’t the best because of the lighting, but you can see how plain the quarters were.

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The netting around this bed was a big luxury! But still, I’m not sure I would have survived on these¬†sleeping on these stringed beds!

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For these people, though, I’m sure they were amazing, especially when you compare them to the barracks bedding!

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These guys slept two to a bunk. One guy slept with his head one way and the other slept with his head at the other’s feet. Can you imagine? The picture really doesn’t show it, but these bunks are really short, more like a youth bed of today. Grampa Tom kept marveling at how short they were, but I’m thinking that having¬†your bunk mate’s feet hanging over might be a good thing!

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After we went through the officer’s quarters and the barracks, we toured the hospital. The beds there were huge, but I suppose they probably had more than one occupant at times.

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Gurneys and operating tables were much narrower.

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There was this 4 hole privy attached to the hospital room. I’m sure it was necessary for guys that couldn’t get around well, but¬†ewwww! Going to these places always makes me so glad that I live in the United States in the 21st century!

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They did know a little about sanitation, though, as evidenced by this sign stressing cleanliness in one of the kitchens.

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I loved this big old brick oven! Can you imagine making this much bread every day?

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Fort Larned was an infantry fort so there weren’t extensive barns or corrals, but they did have a blacksmith shop and the ability to work on and repair wagons, cannons, and other horse-drawn¬†vehicles.

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This room served as the base schoolhouse/library/ church.

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The block house contained gun powder, an underground passageway, and a well.

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There was also a huge storehouse that contained all the stuff a soldier might need, including caskets. :'(

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We didn’t ride the stagecoach across the wooden bridge out of there, but we had fun imagining what it would have been like here in the late 1800’s in Kansas.

What historic tours have you taken lately?

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

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