Monday, July 14, 2014

Trailblazer Workshops

Youth have the Opportunity to Explore Local History this Summer through a Series of Field Trips

Fort Scott, KS:  This summer from August 4-7, area youth will have the opportunity to explore regional historical sites and relive history. By the end of the week, participating youth will be “history experts”.  The program, called “Keeping the Dream Alive: Exploring Local History”, will take place at Fort Scott National Historic Site in conjunction with the Trailblazer Workshop being held that week from August 4-8.  While the Trailblazer Workshop meets in the morning, this program will be held in the afternoon. .  The program is being sponsored by Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area, which is a coalition of about 200 sites in eastern Kansas and western Missouri.

The program will consist of a series of field trips to sites in the area.  The schedule is as follows.  On Monday August 4, the group will visit the Bushwhacker Museum in Nevada, MO.  On Tuesday August 5, Prairie State Park near Mindenmines, MO will be the destination.  On the 6th of August, the group will head north to the Bates County Museum and Island Mound State Historic Site near Butler, MO. Finally, on August 7, the group will take a ride to the Mine Creek State Historic Site near Pleasanton, KS.

Participants will meet at Fort Scott National Historic Site at noon on each of these days where lunch will be provided, followed by the field trip which will depart the site at 1:00 p.m.  Transportation will be provided by bus. A representative from Freedom’s Frontier NHA will accompany each day’s field trip as will a representative from Fort Scott NHS.  Field trips will return no later than 5:00 p.m. each day.

Registration for the field trips is now taking place. The program is open to youth ages 9-12 with space available for 20 participants.  Youth attending the Trailblazer workshop may also sign up for the field trips.  Please note that youth can attend the Trailblazer workshop without going on the field trips and youth can go on the field trips and not attend the Trailblazer program.  The programs are sponsored by separate organizations but are being held in conjunction with each other. To register for either program, call 620-223-0310.  Attendance in both is free of charge. Call soon as spaces are filling.

Fort Scott National Historic Site is a unit of the National Park System. The site is open 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. daily. There is no entrance fee. For more information about Fort Scott National Historic Site call 620-223-0310, visit or see our Facebook page

Sunday, June 29, 2014

JULY 5, 2015

Come to Fort Scott NHS Saturday, July 5 at 2 pm and enjoy a cup of  ice cream provided by the Friends of Fort Scott NHS, Inc. as you listen to patriotic music provided by the “Holmes Brigade Minstrels.”

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Stagecoach, Oxen, and Telegraph are highlights of Good Ol’ Days at Fort Scott NHS

During the Civil War, commanders from both the Union and Confederate armies needed reliable forms of communication to get messages to troops in the field and to relay information to headquarters and government agencies.  They also needed dependable means of transportation to supply troops in the field, to convey sick and wounded soldiers to hospitals for treatment, and to deliver mail and other important messages.

Civil War transportation and communication will be the theme of this year’s Good Ol’ Days celebration at Fort Scott National Historic Site in Fort Scott, KS.  Held on June 7, the event will feature many different transport vehicles, modes of communication and important support functions for each. 

To tell the story of transportation, the site will have a stagecoach, a Civil War era ambulance, a freight wagon, a Conestoga wagon, and oxen on site. Oxen were strong and reliable and could pull wagons up steep hills and out of mud holes. Mr. Rick Lunceford, of Oak Grove, MO, will have two of his oxen, Levi and Sampson, at the site for the public to visit with. Mahaffie Farmstead out of Olathe will be bringing a stagecoach, which will be on display on the site’s parade ground.  Civil War officers often road stagecoaches; these vehicles were also used to transport U.S. Mail.  Visitors at this station will be able to write letters on period–looking stationary and then send those letters (using postage stamps which will be for sale at the site).    

Additionally, the site will have its ambulance set up next to the hospital building where a surgeon will tell the story of Civil War medicine.  Two different types of wagons used for hauling freight will be on display near the quartermaster storehouse and the site’s stables which was used as the commissary building during the Civil War.  The commissary building held enough food items to comprise one million rations.   The Conestoga wagon next to the stables, while quickly becoming an outmoded form of transportation by the Civil War, was still used for short run hauls by area teamsters.

The site will also have a blacksmith and a saddler on site.  The blacksmith will have a period forge and will be demonstrating what has nearly become a lost art.  The saddler will be discussing his important role in keeping the cavalry “in the saddle”.

Various modes of communication during the Civil War will likewise be highlighted during the event.  Donald Reser and Dick Spain of Topeka, KS will be setting up a telegraph which visitors can use to send messages back and forth to each other. Telegraphs were commonly used to relay information during the war with the first transcontinental telegraph being completed in 1861 and the first telegraph reaching Fort Scott in 1864, one hundred and fifty years ago.

The signal corps will be represented; signal flags were used for passing messages on the battlefield during the Civil War.  One of the site’s volunteers will be portraying a courier, a dispatch rider who delivered packages, mail, and other messages during the war, often between commanders in the field and headquarters. Michelle Martin will be portraying Sarah Edmonds Seelye, a female who masqueraded as a soldier during the war, and also served as a spy for a brief period of time.  Finally there will be a letter writing station, demonstrating the fine art of putting ink to paper in the mid- nineteenth century.  

Stations where visitors can learn more about all of these methods of transportation and communication will be open from 10-4.  Additionally, there will be some programs throughout the day addressing these topics. The schedule of activities is as follows.

1030      Nurse and Spy In The Union Army

1130      Wheels of Healing:    Civil War Ambulance

1230       Batteries On the Border:     Civil War Artillery Demonstration

130          Signals of Safety:     The U. S. Army Signal Corps

200          Supplies, Survival and Success - Civil War Quartermaster

230          A Fine Yoke:     The Role of Oxen in Westward Expansion

330          Nurse and Spy in the Union Army

So come to Fort Scott NHS on June 7 and learn about all these vital forms of communication and transportation. Programs and stations will all be at accessible locations. The site is open from 8-5 daily. There is no entrance fee. For more information, call 620-223-0310 or visit us online at

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at

Friday, March 14, 2014

Voices From The Quilts -

Reconciliation Quilt

Voices From the Quilts
March 28 through April 10, 2014

 The Reconciliation Quilt of compassion and hope for a renewed post-Civil War America will come to Fort Scott National Historic Site from the International Quilt Study Center and Museum at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  The Reconciliation Quilt and eight 19th and 20th century Log Cabin pattern quilts will be on display during select dates and times between March 28 and April 10, 2014.

The International Quilt Study Center and Museum was founded in 1997 when Ardis and Robert James donated their collection of 1000 quilts to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Their contribution became the centerpiece of what is now the largest publicly held quilt collection in the world. 

In 1867, Lucinda Ward Honstain of Brooklyn, New York, made what has become known as the Reconciliation Quilt. In it she reveals aspects of her individual and social identity during the tumultuous times immediately following the American Civil War. In pictorial form, Lucinda illustrates her roles as wife and mother as well as her personal connections to family, community, and place.

Honstain’s quilt vividly expresses the earnest desires of many for genuine reconciliation between Northern and Southern states in the post-war era. Her quilt contains 40 unique blocks depicting scenes of hope and compassion as the country began to heal. The Reconciliation Quilt being displayed is an identical reproduction created by Hortense Beck of Topeka, Kansas, in 1995. It often travels the country to remind Americans that reconciliation and understanding are timeless ideals that are as relevant today as they were nearly 150 years ago.

An 1840s style Log Cabin Quilt
(similar in style to the ones that will be displayed)

The log cabin quilts on display belong to the International Quilt Study Center’s Education Collection, which is dedicated to sharing quilts and informing the public about their significance. Log cabin quilts became an extremely popular American quilt style during the end of the 19th century. The increasing popularity of log cabin quilts throughout the United States is indicated by the addition of log cabin quilt categories at state and agricultural fairs. The quilts on display will show case various log cabin quilt block styles. 

The “Voices of the Quilts” exhibit is free and open to the public from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. on March 28-30 and April 4-6. The exhibit may be viewed upon request during the week; advance arrangements are suggested and can be made by calling 620-223-0310. The exhibit will be held in the Grand Hall, which is accessible to the mobility impaired. 

Fort Scott National Historic Site is open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. through March, and from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. beginning April 1. The site is closed during some federal holidays. For more information, call 620-223-0310 or visit our website at

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Fort DOES Make A Difference

National Park Tourism in Kansas Creates $4.6 Million in Economic Benefit
New report shows visitor spending supports 64 jobs in Kansas

OMAHA, Neb. – A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 101,752 visitors to national parks in Kansas spent $4.6 million and supported 64 jobs in the state in 2012.
“The national parks of Kansas attract visitors from across the country and around the world and provide premiere historical, cultural, natural, and recreational experiences,” said NPS Midwest Regional Director Michael T. Reynolds. “This new report shows that national park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy - returning $10 for every $1 invested - and funding generated by national parks has a swift and direct positive impact on local economies in Kansas as well.” 
The national parks in Kansas are:  Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, Topeka; Fort Larned National Historic Site, Larned; Fort Scott National Historic Site, Fort Scott; Nicodemus National Historic Site, Nicodemus; and Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Strong City.
“Fort Scott National Historic Site is proud to welcome visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Superintendent Betty Boyko. “We are delighted to share the story of this place and the experiences it provides and to use the park as a way to introduce our visitors to Fort Scott and all that it offers.   “The fort recorded 25,034 visitors during 2014.  Those people generated an estimated $414,500 for the local economy.”
The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber and Lynne Koontz for the National Park Service.  The report shows $14.7 billion of direct spending by 283 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 243,000 jobs nationally, with 201,000 jobs found in these gateway communities, and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $26.75 billion. 
According to the report most visitor spending supports jobs in restaurants, grocery and convenience stores (39 percent), hotels, motels and B&Bs (27 percent), and other amusement and recreation (20 percent).
The report includes information for visitor spending by park and by state.

To learn more about national parks in Kansas and how the National Park Service works with Kansas communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to

Monday, February 10, 2014

President's Day - February 17, 2014FORT SCOTT NHS ANNOUNCES HOLIDAY CLOSURE Fort Scott National Historic Site will be closed Presidents’ Day, Monday, February 17, 2014. Visitors may enjoy the fort grounds during daylight hours, but the buildings and visitor center will not be open. Administered by the National Park Service, Fort Scott National Historic Site commemorates Fort Scott’s role in the opening of the West, Bleeding Kansas, and the Civil War. Normal operating hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is no charge to enter the park. For further information call (620) 223-0310 or visit the park website at


Fort Scott National Historic Site will be closed Presidents’ Day, Monday, February 17, 2014.  Visitors may enjoy the fort grounds during daylight hours, but the buildings and visitor center will not be open. 

Administered by the National Park Service, Fort Scott National Historic Site commemorates Fort Scott’s role in the opening of the West, Bleeding Kansas, and the Civil War. Normal operating hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is no charge to enter the park.  For further information call (620) 223-0310 or visit the park website at

Monday, February 3, 2014

Women at War - February 8, 2 p.m.

 Women at War Program to be Held at Fort Scott NHS

 Most military histories detail the exploits, heroism, and sacrifice of male officers and soldiers, but equally as important in wartime are the roles of women.  While they have not traditionally served in combat roles, women throughout history have served in a variety of functions during war to support the efforts of soldiers. They have kept the home front going, provided aid and comfort, followed the army into war, served as nurses, and in modern times become an integral part of the armed forces.  For many women, war has been as much of a challenge to them as it has been to their male counterparts.

On Saturday, February 8, 2014, a program featuring women and war will be presented at Fort Scott National Historic Site.  The program will be offered in two parts.  During the first part of the program, Fort Scott volunteers will tell the stories of women during the Mexican-American and Civil Wars.  The second part of the program will feature the Fort Scott Community College’s theater department performing segments of Women and War, a  play that brings to light the varying roles that women have played in all of America’s 20th Century wars. 

During the first part of the program, Fort Scott volunteer Katie Wells will portray Susan Shelby Magoffin, a young newlywed who accompanied her husband down the Santa Fe Trail and into Mexico during the Mexican War.   Wells will be sharing several of Magoffin’s journal entries that show her reaction to war.  Susan Anderson will then play the role of Emma Morley, who came to Fort Scott during the Civil War, where she became a nurse in the hospital.  Morley experienced the fear of the border war and also witnessed the suffering of soldiers after the Battle of Mine Creek.  The concluding presenter for the first part of the program will be Michelle Martin. Martin tells the story of Sarah Edmonds Seelye, a woman who disguised herself as a soldier, served as a Union spy behind Confederate lines, and later worked as a nurse.  Seelye moved to Fort Scott after the war.

Following a short intermission, students from the FSCC’s theater department will tell stories of women and war in a reader’s theater format. Based on historical facts, this play is presented through a collection of stories told in letters and monologues by generations of Americans impacted by conflicts, from The Great War (World War I) to the war in Afghanistan. Deeply touching and educational, this play is an emotional roller coaster. These accounts are moving, funny, exiting, humbling and incredibly sad all at the same time.

The program will begin at 2:00 p.m. and last for approximately two hours.   It will be held in the Grand Hall, located on the top floor of an infantry barracks building at Fort Scott NHS.  Admission to the program and the site is free of charge.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Underground Railroad

FORT SCOTT, KANSAS: Fort Scott National Historic Site invites the public to 
“The Underground Railroad,” 
a guided reading and discussion activity
 on Saturday, January 25, at 2:00 p.m. in the site’s Grand Hall.

“The Underground Railroad” is part of Shared Stories of the Civil War, a collection of reader’s theater scripts created from historical letters, diaries, newspaper articles, and other archival documents from the 1850s and 1860s. The scripts explore the events – the shared stories – that occurred in Kansas and Missouri during the Border War and American Civil War.

The Underground Railroad was a secretive network of individuals who defied existing laws to aid enslaved people find refuge in non-slave states and Canada. Using the terminology of the railroad, those who guided freedom seekers were called “conductors” and safe havens enroute were known as “stations.” Nowhere in the United States during the late 1850s was the Underground Railroad more dangerous than in western Missouri and eastern Kansas; if caught, the penalties were severe and the retribution swift for both freedom seeker and conductor. While many enslaved African Americans successfully found freedom through their own initiative, those involved with the Underground Railroad let their moral convictions overrule federal law. The Underground Railroad can perhaps be called the first major civil rights movement in the nation.

Because it was so dangerous, records dealing with the Underground Railroad are scarce. Learn more about this heroic epic by hearing some of those first person accounts, then join in the discussion about what freedom means to you.

Shared Stories of the Civil War is a partnership between Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area (FFNHA) and the Kansas Humanities Council (KHC). For more information, visit and

Fort Scott National Historic Site, a unit of the National Park Service, is open daily from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. The program is free and the Grand Hall is mobility-impaired accessible. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Fort Scott National Historic Site Announces Holiday Hours

Fort Scott National Historic Site will be closed Martin Luther King Day, Monday, January 20, 2014.  Visitors may enjoy the fort grounds during daylight hours, but the buildings and visitor center will not be open.
Administered by the National Park Service, Fort Scott National Historic Site commemorates Fort Scott’s role in the opening of the West, Bleeding Kansas, and the Civil War. Normal operating hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. There is no charge to enter the park.  For further information call (620) 223-0310 or visit the park website at