Fort Phil Kearny to Celebrate Bozeman Trail 150th with “Beyond the Bozeman Trail” Event
This year marks 150 years since the Bozeman Trail was first used for a cattle drive, an event that changed the landscape and way-of-life for those who called it home prior to euro expansion westward. Fort Phil Kearny State Historic Site will offer guided tours of newly-documented stone circles near Pilot Hill and along Buffalo Creek (Little Piney Creek). Tours will be led by professionals in archeology and ethnobotany on June 21, 2014. Admission to the fort grounds is free that day, guided tours cost $10/person for adult 18 and up. Those wishing to participate in both the Pilot Hill Stone Circles and Buffalo Creek tours will pay $15 for both. This is the first time that the public has been offered access to this part of the fort property.
“The Fort Phil Kearny narrative is about so much more than the fort,” says Misty Stoll, Superintendent. “Recognizing, first and foremost, that this place was already home for so many is the appropriate way to start a conversation on what the site meant in 1866 when the military arrived.” Earlier this season, the Sheridan/Johnson County Archaeological Society conducted an archaeological survey of stone circles located on Fort Phil Kearny State Historic land. Fifty-one features were identified, many of them resembling “tipi rings” others showing additional patterns, some extending outward to a considerable distance. Reddened “fire rock” was observed at many of the rings, evidence of hearths used to heat the dwellings, and for cooking. Not far from the rings is a documented buffalo jump, though it is not known if there is an association of the rings with the buffalo jump. Stoll adds that, as the site moves toward interpreting the stone features, she will continue to build a team of appropriate professionals and tribal representatives to ensure that the features are managed appropriately. Access will be by guided tour only.
On the June 21 event, Stone Circle tours will launch at 8:30 and 11:00. Buffalo Creek tours will launch at 11:00 and 1:00. Both will depart from the Fort Phil Kearny Interpretive Center. Kris Korfanta will lead the Buffalo Creek Tours, and will inform visitors on the importance and origin of plant life found along the Little Piney (Buffalo) Creek. Lakota oral historian, Terry Richards has shared that the Buffalo Creek drainage was called the “Picnic Basket” because of its restorative offerings. “Almost every day I try to remind visitors that at Fort Phil Kearny, the landscape is the artifact,” says Stoll, “’Beyond the Bozeman’ is about exploring that artifact.” Also part of the day will be costumed interpretation in the fort area and an appearance and book signing by the co-authors of Birds and Birding in Wyoming’s Bighorn Mountains Region.
Fort Phil Kearny State History Site is open daily 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and is located at 528 Wagon Box Rd. in Banner, Wyoming. For more information call (307) 684-7629 or email the Superintendent at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fort Phil Kearny Annual Fetterman Battlefield Tour To Include Lakota Drum Presentation, COAT DRIVE, and Book Signing
On Saturday, December 21, 2013, Fort Phil Kearny State History Site will host the 147th Anniversary Tour of the Fetterman Fight. New this year, the event will include a presentation by “Thunder Lake Singers” from Pine Ridge, South Dakota and an appearance by Shannon Smith, author of Give Me Eighty Men: Women and the Myth of the Fetterman Fight. The event will begin at 9:30 a.m. at Fort Phil Kearny Interpretive Center, five miles off of exit 44, Interstate 90 and will include a tour of the battlefield, Native drum presentation, Native and soldier weapons demonstrations, and a book signing by Smith. Terry Richards, Oglala Lakota, and R.C. Wilson, retired Fort Phil Kearny Superintendent will lead the tour. Admission is FREE and visitors are encouraged to bring an item of warm clothing to donate.
“The tradition of visiting the battlefield on the anniversary of the fight is longstanding and I’m excited to offer some new components to the event,” says Superintendent Misty Stoll. “The Native narrative of the fort and the fight is most appropriately heard through an oral historian – and Richards knows his stuff. You can’t get this experience in books or signage.” The fight occurred on December 21, 1866 between the United States 18th Infantry 2nd Cavalry Regiments and members of the Lakota (Sioux), Northern Cheyenne, and Northern Arapahoe Native American Nations. At that time, the battle marked the largest defeat of U.S. Forces in the Northern-Plains Territories.
Smith’s Give Me Eighty Men was a best seller in the Bozeman Trail Association Gift Shop during the 2013 visiting season. Many visitors to Fort Phil Kearny were familiar with the story that pins the blame for the December 21st disaster on Captain William J. Fetterman. “This book has transformed the way we tell one of the foundational stories of Fort Phil Kearny. It’s been incredibly exciting to share this new perspective with our visitors,” says Stoll.
Following the tour, hot drinks and snacks will provided at the Interpretive Center with an opportunity for visitors to ask questions of the guides and view the museum. The complete program will take approximately four hours. Visitors are reminded to dress appropriately for the weather and expect wind at the battlefield. Terry Richards and Thunder Lake Singers are made possible by the Wyoming Humanities Council. Site fees have been waived for all visitors for the anniversary tour.
Fort Phil Kearny State History Site is located at 528 Wagon Box Rd in Banner, Wyoming. For more information call (307) 684-7629 or email the Superintendent at email@example.com.
TOURS WILL DEPART EVERY 20 MINUTES BEGINNING AT 6pm and will last about 30 min.
Full Moon Fort in Oct, 18th
Fort Phil Kearny hosts “Full Moon Fort” with Lantern Tours
Guided Lantern Tours at Fort Phil Kearny will illuminate the darker side of the Fort and the contested “Bloody Bozeman” as part of a special event on the evening of October 18, 2013 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Visitors can expect to hear fun facts and “grisly” details related to the daily lives of Natives and Soldiers near the “hated Fort on Buffalo Creek.”
“We don’t have to make anything up to create good narratives. Fort Phil Kearny was an incredibly dramatic place to be in 1866 and 1867,” says Site Superintendent, Misty Stoll. The tours will take place on the night of the October full moon. Visitors are encouraged to dress warmly for the 30 minute tours. The Fort Phil Kearny Interpretive Center and Gift Shop will be open during the duration of the event.
Site fees apply for visitors over the age of 17; Wyoming Residents pay $2, Non-Residents, $4. In the cases of dangerously cold or wet conditions, the event will be canceled. For announcements and more information visit Fort Phil Kearny State Historic Site on Facebook and at FortPhilKearny.com.
Fort Phil Kearny State History Site is open Wednesday through Sunday 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and is located at 528 Wagon Box Rd in Banner, Wyoming off Exit 44 from Interstate 90. For more information call (307) 684-7629 or email the Superintendent at firstname.lastname@example.org.